A&M’s Manziel suspended for first half of opener

HOUSTON — Johnny Football’s season will start a little late.

Johnny Manziel was suspended for the first half of Texas A&M’s opening game against Rice on Saturday for what the school called an “inadvertent” violation of NCAA rules by signing autographs.

The penalty appears to have brought a quick end to an investigation that could have ruined the seventh-ranked Aggies’ upcoming season.

The school issued a statement Wednesday saying it declared the Heisman Trophy winner ineligible and that the NCAA agreed to reinstate Manziel after he sits out the first half against the underdog Owls.

“I am proud of the way both Coach Sumlin and Johnny handled this situation, with integrity and honesty,” Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp said in the statement. “We all take the Aggie Code of Honor very seriously and there is no evidence that either the university or Johnny violated that code.”

The quarterback was being investigated by the NCAA for allegedly accepting money for signing autographs for memorabilia brokers, a violation of NCAA rules that could have led to a much longer suspension. ESPN first reported the allegations against Manziel earlier this month.

According to the statement, Texas A&M and the NCAA “confirmed there is no evidence Manziel received money in exchange for autographs based on currently available information and statements by Manziel.”

Conditions for reinstatement include Manziel discussing his actions with teammates and A&M revising how it educates student-athletes about signing autographs.

“Student-athletes are often asked for autographs from fans, but unfortunately, some individuals’ sole motivation in seeking an autograph is for resale,” said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs. “It is important that schools are cognizant and educate student-athletes about situations in which there is a strong likelihood that the autograph seeker plans to resell the items.”

He likely will be replaced in the starting lineup by either junior Matt Joeckel or freshman Kenny Hill.

Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy last season, setting numerous school and Southeastern Conference records while leading Texas A&M to an 11-2 mark and a victory against No. 1 Alabama in its first season in the SEC.

He followed that with a high-profile offseason of road trips to Las Vegas and the NBA Finals. Manziel got to meet Heat star LeBron James and rapper Drake, and he posted some Tweets that made headlines.

His biggest misstep, however, came during the summer when he departed early from a quarterback camp for high school players run by the Manning family in Louisiana. Manziel said it was a mutual decision after he overslept and missed meetings and activities.

Manziel was the main attraction at SEC Media Days, where he was peppered with questions but answered with the same cool and calm he often shows in the face of a pass rush.

“I don’t feel like I’ve done anything that’s catastrophic,” Manziel said at the time. “Of course, I’ve made my mistakes. It’s time to grow up.”

The day before the Aggies reported for preseason practice, ESPN reported Manziel signed thousands of autographs for brokers in Texas, Florida and Connecticut, and cited unidentified sources who said Manziel was paid thousands for dollars for the signatures.

Manziel has been off-limits to the media since news broke of the NCAA investigation, but has been practicing with the Aggies.

More in Sports

After slow start, Huskies roll past Colorado 37-10

Myles Gaskin rushes for 202 yards and two touchdowns as No. 7 Washington wins its Pac-12 opener.

Silvertips fall to Winterhawks 7-4 in season opener

U.S. Division-favorite Portland scores six goals in the second period to sink Everett.

Anything can happen this season for Silvertips

An A or an F. That was the assessment of what the… Continue reading

REFLECTIONS: Silvertips fall to Winterhawks in season opener

The Game The 2016-17 season started with much promise. The Everett Silvertips… Continue reading

Seahawks embattled O-line set to face Titans’ pressure defense

Can Seattle rise up and repel Tennessee defensive guru Dick LeBeau’s aggressive pass rushes?

No. 18 Washington State crushes Nevada 45-7 to stay perfect

Luke Falk tosses five touchdown passes as the Cougars improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2001.

Mariners pounded by Indians

Seattle commits five errors, gives up four home runs in its 11-4 loss.

Friday’s prep football results

Arlington loses Wesco 3A North showdown to Ferndale; Monroe remains unbeaten.

Saturday’s prep girls swimming and diving results

PREP GIRLS SWIMMING AND DIVING Saturday Mukilteo Invite King County Aquatics Center… Continue reading

Most Read