When the story about Johnny Manziel accepting impermissible benefits for his autograph first came out, it was ESPN who originally reported that Manziel was under investigation by the NCAA. They also quoted “anonymous” sources who believe Manziel accepted money from autograph brokers in exchange for his signatures on memorabilia. If that were to be proven, Manziel would likely be declared ineligible for much of, if not all of the 2013 college football season.
On Wednesday, Texas A&M chancellor John Sharp sent out an email to a group of local businessmen and former students, in response to a series of reports claiming Manziel had repeatedly accepted money to sign autographs. IN the email, he criticized ESPN and
Sharp wrote that “Rovell … has been duped before.” He then linked to a correction Rovell issued when he was working for CNBC.
Sharp also mentioned a story about Drew Tieman, the Florida-based sports memorabilia dealer who allegedly paid Manziel a five-figure signing fee to autograph hundreds of items. Sharp said that Tieman “was reportedly booked twice for possession of marijuana and placed on four years probation.”
Sharp also told College Station news station KBTX he’s confident this investigation will be over soon and there’s no violation the NCAA can prove happened:
I know he’s innocent. I know that he didn’t do what they accused him of doing, and I think that it’s time that we, once we knew what the facts are and we know the facts…and I’ve seen what everybody else has seen now, and the rest of the country is going to get to see that before it’s over with. It was a bunch of hype journalism.
I just know. I’ve seen things that other folks can’t see. And it didn’t happen. It did not happen.