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

Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Street 1
Philadelphia - LP: M. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Doolittle 8
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati 7 Top 8th Inning
St. Louis 2
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 16 3rd Qtr 6:21
Carolina 6
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Washington 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Calgary 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Edmonton 0 FINAL
Calgary 1
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close