Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel topped the initial Scripps-Howard Heisman Trophy poll of the season, released Thursday. Manziel is followed, in order, by four other quarterbacks: Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater. The nation’s longest-running Heisman poll has correctly forecast the winner in 22 of the last 26 seasons, including Manziel’s victory last year.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel received four national honors today, including his selection as the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week, after passing for a school-record 464 yards in Saturday’s 49-42 loss to top-ranked Alabama. Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, led the Aggies to the most yards ever recorded against an Alabama team (682) and the most points allowed (42) by a Nick Saban-coached team. Among other honors, Manziel was selected as the National Offensive Player of the Week by the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.
Houston attorney Tony Buzbee submitted a record-setting bid of $115,000 to claim the only Texas license plate with the phrase “12THMAN” emblazoned on it.
But he will not be keeping the vanity plate, Buzbee said today after being announced as the winning bidder. Instead, Buzbee said he plans to give the plate to a decorated war hero who is an A&M graduate and “deserves it more than I do.” He did not name the recipient.
Buzbee will be presented with the plate during Saturday’s game against Alabama, completing a process that resulted in the highest purchase price of an official State of Texas license plate. The previous high was $25,000 for plates with the word “HOUSTON.” The world record, cited in a 2008 Bloomberg report, is $14.2 million for a “1” license plate purchased by a businessman in the United Arab Emirates.
Proceeds from the month-long auction will benefit A&M and the General Revenue Fund of Texas. Buzbee will own the rights to the plate for a 10-year team, with first option on renewal after that.
Former Texas A&M football coach R.C. Slocum has been selected as winner of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the American Heart Association, organizers announced Wednesday. Slocum will be honored Jan. 15, 2014 in Houston. During his 14 seasons as A&M’s head football coach, Slocum compiled a record of 123-47-2 with three Southwest Conference championships and a Big 12 title. His teams went to 11 bowl games and compiled a .721 winning percentage.
One day after brushing past Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin on his way to the sideline following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Aggies’ quarterback Johnny Manziel continued to draw flak Sunday from college football analysts.
The primary issue centered around replays of Manziel bumping into, then walking past Sumlin as the coach approached him after the fourth-quarter penalty. Sumlin benched Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, following the incident.
But the A&M coach, who rebuked Manziel in his post-game news conference, needs to take things to another level, said ESPN analyst Matt Millen.
“That kid, I would bench him this week after I gave him a size-13 (shoe) in the rear end. That stuff can’t happen,” said Millen, a longtime NFL player and former Detroit Lions’ general manager. “The thing that got me was when he just ignored Kevin Sumlin as he’s walking off the field. The guy won the Heisman Trophy. Everybody knows, including himself, that the spotlight is brightest on him. So, … have a little class. Not third. First class.”
ESPN analyst Mark May, a 13-year NFL offensive lineman and member of the College Football Hall of Fame, said Manziel’s action in regard to Sumlin was unacceptable and smacked of “a very selfish player that doesn’t care about his teammates.”
Both analysts made their comments during Sunday’s telecast of the Louisville-Ohio football game.
“Now, the fans are starting to turn against Johnny Manziel. And they should,” May said. “He needs to wake up. He’s not a 6-year-old at Toys ’R Us not getting his favorite toy. He’s a college football player and … you don’t ‘diss’ your head coach on the football field.”
In Saturday’s game, Manziel regularly jawed with Rice players before drawing his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Sumlin called it a “foolish penalty” and said he had no plans to bench Manziel until it occurred. He also said he would address hand gestures Manziel made during the contest toward Rice players after reviewing videotapes.
ESPN analyst Lou Holtz, a longtime college coach, said: “I have faith in Kevin Sumlin. He’ll handle it properly.”
A&M players expressed support for Manziel and his fiery demeanor after the contest. In a Sunday interview with the Carroll County (Md.) Times, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco indicated the anti-Manziel sentiments are becoming too much.
“I feel like now, everybody hates him. He’s quickly becoming my favorite player in college football,” Flacco said.
But May said Sunday that Manziel must be more “professional” on the field about when he releases emotion. And that cannot include actions that show up his coach in front of teammates and TV cameras.
“If Tim Tebow did that, I’d fall out of my chair. If Brett Favre ‘dissed’ a coach like that, I’d fall out of my chair,” May said, citing two other fiery quarterbacks. “When you’re a leader and you’re a college quarterback, you … act professional. It doesn’t mean you’re a professional football player. It’s how you carry yourself as a professional.”
Four Texas A&M football players, including three defensive starters, were suspended today for two games for unspecified violations of team rules. The suspensions take effect immediately, with the four players eligible to return for the team’s Sept. 14 game against Alabama.
The three defensive starters who will miss today’s Rice game are CB De’Vante Harris, LB Steven Jenkins and DE Gavin Stansbury. Receiver Edward Pope, a backup, also will miss the first two games.
The latest suspensions, announced by school officials, means eight different Aggies will serve disciplinary suspensions of some sort against the Owls. Also out for today’s game are DL Kirby Ennis and DB Floyd Raven. Two players are suspended for half of today’s game: DB Deshazor Everett and QB Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.
The college football season kicks off this weekend and the Texas A&M-Alabama game on Sept. 14 is the hottest commodity on the re-sale ticket market, based on information provided today by vividseats.com.
The A&M-Alabama game, a battle of Top 10 teams in the preseason polls, has an average re-sale price of $744 per ticket, with a $359 minimum, based on data compiled by the website.
Among opening-week matchups, the costliest re-sale tickets are for these games: Georgia-Clemson ($292), Boise State-Washington ($232) and Alabama-Virginia Tech ($175).
Among individual schools, the highest average ticket prices for home games are found at Notre Dame ($290), Ohio State ($280) and Alabama ($246). Texas A&M is sixth on that list ($205), with Texas at No. 8 ($186) and Oklahoma at No. 10 ($169).
In terms of individual contests, the Red River Rivalry matchup between Texas and Oklahoma ranks fifth nationally on the re-sale market, with an average price of $466 and a minimum price of $191.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will be suspended for the first half of Saturday’s game against Rice for what is considered an inadvertent violation of an NCAA rule regarding autographs.
In a joint statement issued Wednesday, school and NCAA officials agreed there was “no evidence that quarterback Johnny Manziel received money in exchange for autographs, based on currently available information and statements by Manziel.”
Because of the inadvertent violation of an NCAA bylaw that says athletes are “required to take steps to stop” the use of their name or picture on commercial items sold by an individual or agency, A&M officials declared Manziel ineligible and submitted a three-part penalty that was accepted by NCAA officials.
In addition to sitting out the first half of Saturday’s opener against Rice (noon, ESPN), Manziel must address the team regarding the situation and lessons learned. A&M also must revise its education of student-athletes in regard to signing autographs for individuals with multiple items.
The penalties can be reviewed by NCAA officials if additional information surfaces and further action is considered appropriate. NCAA bylaws prohibit signing memorabilia in exchange for money and the joint release said: “based on information provided by Manziel, that did not happen in this case.”
Wednesday’s action ends more than three weeks of speculation about the eligibility status of the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and assures that A&M will start a former Tarrant County high school standout at quarterback against Rice: junior Matt Joeckel, an Arlington High School graduate, or Kenny Hill, a freshman from Southlake Carroll.
Speculation about Manziel’s availability began Aug. 4, when an ESPN “Outside the Lines” report alleged that Manziel accepted a five-figure fee in January for signing items for a memorabilia dealer in Florida. Citing unnamed sources, ESPN followed up with additional reports of other signings for profit involving Manziel but indicated many of the network’s sources were not willing to talk to NCAA investigators.
Manziel denied accepting money in exchange for his signature during a six-hour meeting Sunday with NCAA investigators in College Station, sources told CBSSports.com. Wednesday’s joint announcement showed that NCAA officials were satisfied with Manziel’s denial when weighed against other evidence they collected. His transgression that led to Saturday’s suspension stemmed from violating the “spirit” of bylaws 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168, which require an athlete to try and stop the commercial use of his name or likeness for commercial purposes.
Manziel was not available for interviews and administrators from A&M and the NCAA issued prepared statements about the decision.
“Student-athletes are often asked for autographs from fans, but unfortunately, some individuals’ sole motivation in seeking an autograph is for resale,” said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice-president of academic and membership services. “It is important that schools are cognizant and educate student-athletes about situations in which there is a strong likelihood that the autograph seeker plans to resell the items.”
Texas A&M chancellor John Sharp, who declared Manziel “innocent” of the allegations during a television interview last week, praised his quarterback and coach Kevin Sumlin for handling the uncertainty surrounding Manziel’s eligibility status “with integrity and honesty.”
In a statement, Sharp said: “We all take the Aggie Code of Honor very seriously and there is no evidence that either the university or Johnny violated that code.”
The code says, “An Aggie does not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do.”
In his statement, A&M athletic director Eric Hyman praise the NCAA staff for “its fairness and professionalism throughout this process,” as well as its expediency in getting the case settled before Saturday’s kickoff. A&M, the No. 7 team in The Associated Press’ poll, is considered a national title contender. Wednesday’s ruling assures that Manziel, barring injury, will be on the field for the team’s Sept. 14 showdown in College Station against top-ranked Alabama.
A&M coach Kevin Sumlin was not available for comment. But in Tuesday’s news conference, he called the battle for the backup quarterback job between Joeckel and Hill “an ongoing competition.”
By Saturday, one of them will replace Manziel in A&M’s starting lineup. At least for the first half of the Rice game.
Based on published accounts from two sources, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will be suspended for the first half of Saturday’s game against Rice in the wake of allegations that he accepted money for signing memorabilia in the offseason in violation of NCAA rules.
The first report, from Billy Liucci of the website TexAgs.com, came via Twitter and said: “Latest on Manziel? Per multiple sources, he’ll be suspended for first half of season opener versus Rice on Saturday.”
Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com followed up minutes later on his Twitter account with this post: “Can confirm TexAgs report, Johnny Manziel will be sidelined for 1st half of A&M opener vs. Rice per source close to the QB.”
Although multiple messages have been left by the Star-Telegram, no A&M or NCAA official has confirmed the reports. From all indications, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner would not be found guilty of accepting money for signing autographs but would be found in violation of NCAA bylaw 22.214.171.124: Use of a student’s name or picture without knowledge or permission.
Under that bylaw, athletes are “required to take steps to stop” the use of their name or picture on commercial items used to promote a commercial project or sold by an individual or agency.
During a Sunday meeting with NCAA investigators, Manziel denied accepting money for signing memorabilia, sources told CBSSports.com.
Although sitting down Manziel for one half of one game marks an unusual penalty, such a move would provide clarity for both A&M and the NCAA in regard to Manziel’s eligibility status for the 2013 season. It also would stand as a compromise solution to an investigation in which there was no reported evidence of Manziel accepting money, despite ESPN reports citing sources that said he did so.
Assuming that Manziel truly sits out the first half of Saturday’s game, A&M will select between two former Tarrant County high school players as its starting quarterback against Rice: Matt Joeckel, a junior from Arlington High School, and Kenny Hill, a freshman from Southlake Carroll.
Heading into the 2013 college football season, the most-discussed rules change made during the offseason involves an updated definition of “targeting” by a defensive player while making a tackle. To help fans understand the nuances of the rule, the Big 12 circulated a video featuring Walt Anderson, the league’s coordinator of football officials, explaining what is allowed and what will be penalty under 2013 rules. This information applies to rules implementation throughout the country, not just the Big 12. Below is a link to Anderson’s video: