Johnny Manziel’s family has reportedly hired El Paso, Texas attorney Jim Darnell as the Heisman Trophy winner is facing an investigation into whether or not he was paid to sign autographs. Darnell has previous experience in NCAA matters.
ESPN was first to report that Manziel is being examined for allegedly being paid to sign autographs before the BCS title game in January. Such a deal would have compromised Manziel’s status as an amateur athletes.
The Manziels also have said that in order to comply with NCAA regulations, no member of the family will comment publicly about the investigation.
Though Darnell has no previous connection to the Manziels, he has worked on several high-profile NCAA cases. He represented Baylor when its basketball program was sanctioned in the early 2000s and also represented former USC basketball coach Tim Floyd when he was accused of improprieties during his time there.
ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reported on Sunday that Manziel was being investigated by the NCAA after a broker allegedly paid him a five-figure fee to sign autographs on photos and assorted memorabilia. If that story proves to be true, Manziel would be in violation of NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199 which prohibits athletes from accepting money for promoting or advertising the commercial sale of a product or service.
Manziel would almost surely be ruled ineligible if that is true. It will be Darnell’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Texas A&M’s football team opened fall camp this week and the squad is surely hoping its quarterback will be on the field when the Aggies open the season in a few weeks.