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Coaches Afraid Their Players Could Follow In Manziel’s Footsteps (Clowney Items All Over eBay)

afraidBruce Feldman and checked in with three different Division I head football coaches yesterday to get their feelings about the Johnny Manziel/autograph issue.  The one emotion that comes through loud and clear?  Fear.  The coaches are scared of who’s contacting their players and what they’re offering them.

“I am totally concerned by it,” one coach said.  “People tweet at (players) and you know that’s not where it always stops.  Maybe they’re in town.  ‘Hey, let’s go to dinner… Hey, let me help you.’  There’s all sorts of bad possibilities.”

Consider that reason #436 why coaches should remove their players from Twitter.  Folks with bad intentions no longer need a phone number or an email address to contact players.  Anyone can tweet at anyone else.

Other forms of social media also make it easy for — let’s say — autograph dealers to reach out to players.  According to another coach:


“It would take a five-year-old less than three minutes to find out on Facebook who (a player’s) mother is and he can send her a message.  I’m not sure how well some of these 19-year-olds really know the rules.  We have them meet with compliance where they hear about point-shaving, gambling and agents, but are they going to really think they’re breaking rules if someone asked them to sign a few pictures for $10 or $20?  Honestly, I think half of them would say you can and probably 100% would do it thinking they won’t get caught.

We tell them all the time how things have changed.  With Twitter and smart phones, everyone’s a reporter and everybody wants fame.  Listen to some of these (autograph brokers) coming forward to talk about Manziel.  They said, ‘Oh, he’s a great guy and I don’t wanna get the kid in trouble,’ but they’re talking to reporters and saying, ‘Here’s how you spell my name.’”


One would hope that the amount of coverage the Manziel story has generated might actually help coaches and compliance officials in their attempts to teach players that autographs-for-cash is a major no-no.

Then again, some players might just look at the Manziel situation — especially if nothing comes of it — and decide that they too can sign memorabilia for big cash so long as everyone agrees it never happened.  Shhhh.


SIDENOTE – Rather than worrying about Manziel, one Texas A&M website has decided to try and take down South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney.  Ya know, ’cause that’ll clear Manziel.

According to, 258 consecutively-numbered items autographed by Clowney can be found on the internet, many on eBay.  A South Carolina official has said that their “compliance folks are aware of it” but that there hasn’t been an “indication that there’s been a violation.”  Yet.

This of course is a product of the all-too-common, “Well, what about him?” reaction from fans.  “If someone accuses my guy of cheating, I’ll accuse somebody else’s guy of cheating.”  It won’t in any way protect or clear the first player, but if you can reach out and hurt somebody else… go for it!

How many Auburn and Alabama fans are currently scouring the internet for dirt on their rivals right this instant?



              John, as I understand it, the NCAA began their investigation based solely on the fact that there were a number of signed items for sale online and had been authenticated in a series. The statements and photos did not come out until Monday. So, I think that what is saying is that if that is the criteria, large number of items, why only JM and not the others.  I hope you are not saying that because the NCAA chose to go after JM and not the others, that then it is OK, because they did not get caught.  Even thought I don't agree with the rule, it is the one on the books and should be followed.  I guess where I seem to differ with you is that if one has to follow it, all should have to follow it and don't see it as taking someone down by pointing out that they did the same thing.  

agnerd 1 Like

About the sidenote: I thought the purpose of mentioning Clowney was not a "What about him," but instead aimed to call into question the autograph dealer's credibility and motives.  It seems a little odd that the dealer would have authenticated items from a number of athletes, all of whom claim to have received no payments, but would then only present a video of one of those athletes to ESPN.  I think GoodBullHunting points to the issue that a bunch of athletes uniformly maintain their innocence while an unknown dealer with unknown motives is assumed to be credible despite some inconsistencies in his actions and statements.


It's called exposing hypocrisy. 

j_scott_o 1 Like

Your 'Sidenote' is a little disingenuous, don't you think?  The site you reference doesn't worry about Manziel?  C'mon, a simple click to the site shows a ton of articles about Manziel and this scandal.  Trying to bring down Clowney?  Where does it even allude to doing that?  Instead, it is pointing out that this "bulk signings" are not just relegated to Manziel.  So, if they aren't just relegated to Manziel, how come others aren't being investigated like Manziel is?  In other words, is Manziel getting unfair jeopardizing treatment...when others are doing the same thing?  And, btw, the article didn't just look at Clowney.  And, other sites are reporting the same information.  Anyway, keep up the good work.  Love your site!


@j_scott_o Yeah, I went over to Good Bull, and have spent a hour looking for the "trying to bring down Clowney" stuff, and I took away sort of what you did. I think the article was more directed at showing how widespread the practice of floating autographs is, and that was pretty much how the comments were going. I got the sense most of the posters think Manziel did it, but a squirming around the edges on whether there is enough that is legal to get him suspended. Hardly a hatchet job.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@BonzaiB @j_scott_o  

I didn't say it was a hatchet job.  I said that a Texas A&M website has now dug around to find if Jadeveon Clowney had any memorabilia out there.  They did.  And they wrote about it.  And now Clowney and South Carolina are having to deal with this story, too, even though no brokers have come forward to say that he received money or asked for it... as in the Johnny Manziel case.

If Manziel took money for autographs, he'll be ruled ineligible.  If Clowney took money for autographs, he'll be ruled ineligible, too.  Manziel's case will not be impacted Clowney's.  So I stand by my initial assertion that Texas A&M fans went to see who else has autographs on the web and the pointed to Clowney.

I feel safe in writing this because I see it play out roughly 1,000 a year.  Every time and SEC team is called for a penalty, fans respond by pointing to videos of similar plays involving other teams... as if there's a conspiracy to keep their team down.  Every time an SEC player find himself at the center of an NCAA investigation, fans respond by looking for proof that others have cheated, too -- which wouldn't change the first part of the equation -- and then they post those findings online.  

Perhaps I'm just jaded by this, but if you received email after email from folks saying, "Well, they cheated, too," you'd probably read this one the same way I have.

In the end, Clowney is now in the same boat with Manziel... despite the fact that no one has claimed (yet) that he took money for the autographs, unlike Manziel.

Thanks for reading the site,



@John at MrSEC @BonzaiB

I can definitely see your point on the "jaded" part.  And, I don't like finger pointing either as in "he is doing it too".  Kinda like what I tell my kids.  Worry about yourself, not your siblings.  And, if Manziel did get paid for autographs, and it is proven, then he should be ineligible.  Now, lets read how stupid that last line sounds?  If a player gets paid for his autograph, he is ineligible.  Man.  But, it IS the rule, so, he should be ineligible.  But, that rule should be changed.  That is another argument.

Going back to Clowney, et al, what the A&M site was pointing out is the hypocrisy the media is having with going after Manziel.  The assertion by the media is that Manziel signed a ton of autographs, in a hotel room,  which is extremely unusual, so, he must have gotten paid.  The A&M site is pointing out that other athletes sign tons of autographs, for the same broker(s), in hotel, it isn't so unusual as the media is portraying.

It will be interesting to see where all of this goes.  Even I Manziel doesn't play, I still believe A&M is going to have a great year.  And, I'm looking forward to the season either way.

And, I can't say this enough, but, I really do enjoy your site!


@John at MrSEC @j_scott_o And, to be fair, the "1,000 posts like this a year is probably", a little low, I read more than a few blogs, and yeah, its a little thick out there.


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