As an NCAA probe looks into the claim that Johnny Manziel accepted a “five-figure fee” from an autograph broker for signing memorabilia, a YouWager news source reports that another broker has come forward, to say he paid Manziel cash for signing 300 toy helmet souvenirs in January. The broker, who remains anonymous at this point, says Manziel was paid $7,500 for signing the memorabilia.
The broker produced cell phone videos that featured Manziel signing the helmets and several footballs. The video does not show the young quarterback accepting any cash. Earlier, the broker sought to be paid for the video, but no news network would pay for the footage. YouWager’s source found that at least three known autograph brokers that were connected to Manziel in some way. Drew Tieman’s company is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and he allegedly met with Johnny Football the day before the BCS title game, to buy autographs. The second autograph broker is based in Alabama. He claims he met with Manziel the night before the Texas A&M vs. Alabama game in November. There is a third broker, too, but so far, the third broker’s identity has not been revealed.
NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11 strictly prohibits players from accepting any money for promotion or sale of a product or service. If the NCAA decides Manziel broke the rules by selling his autograph, it’s not clear yet how this might affect his Heisman Trophy. Tim Henning, Heisman coordinator for the Heisman Trophy Trust, declined to comment for YouWager’s source on the allegations that Manziel signed has signed autographs on photographs and football memorabilia for a Florida autograph dealer for thousands of dollars. “We don’t comment on hypotheticals,” Henning said. YouWager’s more dedicated college football betting fans will remember that the Heisman Trophy Trust asked Reggie Bush to return the Heisman he won in 2005, after the NCAA found that he and his parents had violated the rules during that season.
Can a great lawyer fix this for Johnny Football?
That must have been the school’s first question. Texas A&M hired the same law firm that helped another Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton, stay eligible during the 2010 college football betting season. Jason Cook, senior associate athletic director confirmed to YouWager’s source that the college has retained the services of Lightfoot, Franklin and White as legal counsel on the matter. This firm represented Auburn during the Cam Newton investigation.
Texas A&M’ athletic director, Eric Hyman told YouWager’s source the school was “just trying to get the facts, just trying to do the due diligence, just get an understanding.”