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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Did Johnny Manziel Commit NCAA Violations on Purpose?

If Sherlock Holmes could talk he would probably say Johnny Manziel was trying to get caught.

Manziel, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is back in the news again, this time at the center of an autograph signing scandal. While the rest of the world tries to figure out whodunit, it doesn't take a consulting detective to figure out Manziel might have done it on purpose for several reasons that all add up to make a very compelling case.

But why, you ask?

Let's examine the evidence.

Manziel has made it clear via social media that he doesn't like to be in college. He doesn't like the scrutiny and constant intrusion into his private life. He certainly doesn't like people telling him what he can and can't do. He even went so far as to tweet that he can't wait to leave Texas A&M. That doesn't sound like a guy who wants to toe the line and whose list of required reading includes an NCAA rulebook.

Manziel reportedly signed hundreds of autographs in exchange for thousands of dollars. He didn't sneak into a hotel room at 3 a.m. He wasn't slipped a brown paper bag underneath the table. He signed the autographs in broad daylight in front of multiple witnesses. He knew the memorabilia would end up for sale with his name on it. He had to know that taking money in exchange for his autograph was an NCAA violation worthy of him being suspended. And he comes from a wealthy family, so he certainly didn't do it because he needed the money.

Manziel wants to play football. It's clear he wants to make money. It's clearer he wants to make a lot of money playing football. Coming off a banner year in which he led the Aggies to a top-5 ranking, Manziel knows his stock will never be higher. By NFL rule, he can't enter the draft until 2014. A lot of things can happen if he plays another season, and most of them are bad. He could get hurt, have a bad year or have his weaknesses exposed. His draft stock could slip from the first round to the fourth, fifth or even lower. And don't think Manziel won't be a first-round pick. Guys such as Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert, Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn have all been recent first-round selections. By not playing this season, Manziel locks in his value based on last season's performance. NFL teams will be standing in line to draft him.

Last but not least is Manziel's personality. He's brash, cocky, independent, stubborn and a few other things. He's the kind of guy who wouldn't pass up the chance to stick it to the man, in this case the NCAA and Texas A&M. He knows both organizations are getting rich off his name and fame while he's forced to put 87 grade gas in his Mercedes Benz. You can bet your horns that doesn't sit well with him. And since he's not interested in the free education, getting suspended and sitting out the season would keep the NCAA and Texas A&M from taking him to the bank.

And to paraphrase an old gumshoe, once you have eliminated all the possibilities, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

- Brian Campbell - HSN Staff Writer