Scoggins: In Manziel vs. NCAA, go ahead and blame 'em both

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 12, 2013 - 11:26 PM

The trouble-seeking QB could handle himself better, and the NCAA could end its archaic charade.

hide

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is under NCAA investigation to determine if he sold autographs for money, which would put his eligibility in question.

Photo: Karen Warren • Houston Chronicle via Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The NCAA reportedly is investigating Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel over allegations that he sold his autograph to memorabilia dealers for a five-figure sum. This could become a watershed case in college athletics, but assigning blame is not a one-sided argument.

Do you blame Manziel for seeking to profit off his fame, success and Johnny Football mystique? Or do you blame a self-serving NCAA that clings to archaic rules and principles.

The answer is yes. Blame both for this messy situation, which has raised questions about Manziel’s eligibility and, in the process, exposed the hypocrisy of college athletics and the NCAA’s culpability.

College sports — football in particular — have become such a financial behemoth that everyone wants and deserves a piece of the action. That quaint notion of amateurism was once a fine concept, but this is not a mom-and-pop operation.

According to estimates, the Big Ten Network will pay each member school at least $30 million annually once Rutgers and Maryland join the conference in 2014 and open doors to new television markets.

Have you seen photos of Oregon’s new football complex? The 145,000-square foot palace reportedly cost $68 million and includes a lobby wall that features 64 55-inch televisions, a barber shop inside the locker room, rugs imported from Nepal and a two-story theater.

Ah, the smell of amateurism.

The anti-NCAA chorus is in full throat over the Manziel investigation, but the Texas A&M quarterback hardly paints himself as a sympathetic figure. If the investigation ultimately discovers that Manziel sold his autograph for profit, he deserves to be punished based on his own selfishness.

Yes, NCAA rules that prohibit athletes from profiting from their likeness or fame are antiquated, but Manziel jeopardized his eligibility and his team’s legitimate national championship aspirations by ignoring a basic rule that every college athlete should know. If true, he went for a money grab because he’s Johnny Football and he does whatever he wants, judging by his eventful offseason activities.

His method was wrong, but his intent makes sense. Johnny Football the player and brand became a cash cow for Texas A&M, but Johnny Manziel the person could only watch as everyone else got rich(er) off his talent.

Jay Bilas, an ESPN college basketball analyst and dogged NCAA critic, further exposed the NCAA’s hypocrisy last week when he typed the name of various college athletes — including Manziel — into a search feature on the NCAA’s merchandise shop website. Replica jerseys without the players’ names appeared.

The online shop also included an autographed photo of former Southern California running back Reggie Bush, who forfeited his Heisman Trophy after an NCAA investigation over improper benefits resulted in heavy sanctions against USC.

NCAA President Mark Emmert promptly announced that the NCAA website no longer will sell player jerseys. Keep in mind the NCAA is being sued by current and former players over the use of their likenesses.

The NCAA and member schools should no longer be allowed to hide behind the shield of amateurism while making obscene profits. The landscape has changed; so should the rules of governance.

The argument that a scholarship represents a suitable trade-off falls short in today’s big-business climate. It’s absurd that an athlete can’t receive money for his autograph, yet his autographed helmet can fetch thousands on eBay.

Would a rule change prevent some unscrupulous booster from paying the star quarterback $100,000 for his autograph? No, but that also could happen with or without an autograph.

The NCAA is considering legislation that covers a full-cost scholarship, which would provide athletes a $2,000 stipend for spending money. Critics argue that a stipend would widen the divide between the haves and have-nots, but an equal playing field doesn’t exist in college athletics, not in this age of lucrative conference TV networks and facilities arms race.

According to various reports, five BCS conferences, including the Big Ten, are primed to form a new division within the NCAA and operate under their own rules. They would have power to enact their own guidelines on everything from stipends to recruiting. Maybe they even would allow athletes to sell their autographs.

College sports feel as if they’ve arrived at a crossroads. The amateurism model is outdated and needs reform. Business is booming, but a star athlete faces significant punishment for allegedly selling his autograph. Something seems fundamentally wrong with that.

 

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel warms up with teammates on the first day of fall practice in College Station, Texas, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Bryan College Station Eagle, Stuart Villanueva)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota - T. May 6:05 PM
Baltimore - M. Gonzalez
NY Yankees - C. Capuano 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Buehrle
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. deGrom
Boston - A. Ranaudo 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Miami - T. Koehler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - E. Santana
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll
Texas - S. Baker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Colorado - C. Bergman 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Oakland - J. Lester 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Los Angeles - D. Haren 9:10 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Washington - J. Zimmermann 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
NY Jets 7 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 FINAL
NY Giants 16
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 22 FINAL
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 FINAL
Cleveland 33
Denver 27 FINAL
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 FINAL
Tennessee 3
San Francisco 40 FINAL
Houston 13
Arizona 9 FINAL
San Diego 12
Seattle 31 FINAL
Oakland 41
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Houston 7:00 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close