In today’s report, an unnamed East Coast autograph dealer said he paid Manziel $7,500 for signing approximately 300 mini- and full-sized A&M helmets on Jan. 11-12 in New Haven, Conn. The ESPN report said the broker played two cell phone videos for an ESPN reporter. But the video does not show Manziel accepting any money.
The report said the videos, taken without Manziel’s knowledge, included a clip of Manziel saying “you never did a signing with me” and telling the broker that, if he were to tell anyone, Manziel would refuse to deal with him in the future.
The report also said the broker does not intend to cooperate with the ongoing NCAA investigation involving Manziel and memorabilia, which came to light in Sunday’s Outside the Lines segment. In that one, two unnamed sources told said Manziel agreed to sign memorabilia in exchange for a five-figure fee during his trip to the BCS National Championship Game in Miami. Both sources said they witnessed the signings but not an exchange of money.
Under NCAA rules, an athlete can sign memorabilia but cannot be compensated for doing so. An athlete who violates that rule would be declared ineligible. But it remains unclear if any of the unnamed sources cited by ESPN will be willing to assist NCAA officials in their investigation.
A&M officials, who have retained a law firm to deal with the Manziel eligibility issue, have acknowledged they are gathering facts about the situation.
_ Jimmy Burch