Friday, August 9, 2013

Latest Johnny Manziel Scandal Could Rattle NCAA Core Principles

The story was too good to be true. Johnny Manziel erupted onto the college football scene as a freshman starting quarterback, shattering records along the way to a Heisman trophy award, the first ever for a freshman player. He passed or ran for 47 touchdowns on the year, completed a marvelous upset over #1 ranked Alabama, and led Texas A&M to a Cotton Bowl Victory, losing just 2 games to Florida and LSU in the entire season.
But his time off the field has shown a different story. He was arrested last summer for getting into a fight. This offseason, he was apparently too hung over to help coach at the Manning Passing Academy. He then got himself kicked out of a party. He has expressed a lack of happiness of playing college football. But most recently, he has come under NCAA investigation for profiting from selling his autograph.
The last problem is his biggest. The NCAA has been suspending athletes for years for profiting from their fame, and Johnny Manziel is now running the risk of a major suspension.
The trouble for the NCAA is that Manziel has quickly become college football’s star player, by a large margin. He was the story of the season last year, inflicting the lone defeat upon the National Champions, Alabama. The freshman quarterback has brought excitement to the league, and was poised for several more years of great play and high ratings. Now it’s all up in the air.
The NCAA finds itself in a predicament. They must punish the player merely because they’ve become so ruthless in their suspensions in years past. But Manziel is a premier quarterback, a star player. If Manziel is suspended for the season, college football will take a step back and ratings will decline.
We all saw how a similar situation played out with Cam Newton, who led the Auburn Tigers to a National Title after allegations surfaced that he had demanded pay from his college team. The NCAA was able to weasel their way out of that scandal by pinning all the blame on Newton’s father.
But with Manziel we have photographic proof of him signing autographs. Multiple sources say that he accepted a reported $7,500 for those signatures. Manziel’s father has already distanced himself from the player, stating his general concern over his son’s behavior. There’s nobody at fault but Johnny Manziel and he must be punished, or else the NCAA will have to entirely change their position in regards to players making money.
And what does this all mean for Johnny Manziel and his potential NFL future? Surely, a lengthy suspension would be an alarming result for such a talented player. He may sit the year and enter the NFL draft, but how many teams will take a chance on a player with so much baggage who clearly sees himself above the rules? He may have all the natural talent in the world, but becoming a successful NFL quarterback requires a larger sense of maturity.
Regardless, his talent is such that some team will take a chance on him. Will he develop into a successful professional quarterback? Only time will tell. For now, let us all sit back and enjoy the media blasting of both Manziel and the NCAA, who will both be scrambling to portray themselves in the best manner.
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