In the newsletter, Sharp wrote that school officials have had “ongoing and productive dialogue with the NCAA” throughout the investigation but noted that one of the ESPN reporters who broke the story “has been duped before.” Sharp questioned the validity of ESPN’s unnamed sources used in the Manziel reports, calling it “surprising that the nation’s largest sports channel would support publication with this lack of corroboration.”
In a Thursday statement, ESPN officials said: “We stand by our reporting.” A&M opens its football season Aug. 31. Manziel has been practicing with the team and took part in last week’s open scrimmage in College Station.
Below is a look at Sharp’s message from the newsletter:
“As you are well aware, our Heisman Trophy winning, freshman quarterback has been very popular this summer! I hope you saw that I recently supported him at the opening of the Texas A&M School of Law in Fort Worth.
“While I did confirm that it was a personal view, my motivation was based on the fact we have had ongoing and productive dialogue with the NCAA during their investigation, as required. However, some members of the media have chosen to declare No. 2 guilty with no evidence whatsoever.
“Darren Rovell of ESPN, who broke this story, has been duped before. During his report on Johnny Manziel, he cites unnamed sources who refuse to provide an interview or any tangible proof. In fact, his ‘named source,’ Drew Tieman (initially referred to as the broker), was reportedly booked twice for possession of marijuana and placed on four years probation. He has taken down his Facebook page, changed his telephone number and is refusing attempts to be interviewed by the NCAA. It is surprising that the nation’s largest sports channel would support publication with this lack of corroboration.
“I look forward to the start of this football season and am confident that we’ll once again exceed expectations during our second season in the SEC. We should all be very proud of what Coach (Kevin) Sumlin and his staff are accomplishing here in Aggieland.”
_ Jimmy Burch