Johnny Football will start the season on the bench but he won't be there for long. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel of No. 7 Texas A&M has been suspended for the first half of Saturday's season opener against the Rice Owls A&M and the NCAA announced Wednesday in a joint statement. The statement said there was no evidence that Manziel received payment for signing autographs. The NCAA and A&M agreed on the one-half suspension because Manziel violated NCAA bylaw 220.127.116.11 an NCAA representative confirmed. The rule says student-athletes cannot permit their names or likenesses to be used for commercial purposes including to advertise recommend or promote sales of commercial products or accept payment for the use of their names or likenesses. "If additional information comes to light the NCAA will review and consider if further action is appropriate" the NCAA said in the joint statement. "NCAA rules are clear that student-athletes may not accept money for items they sign and based on information provided by Manziel that did not happen in this case." In addition to the suspension Manziel will speak to his teammates about lessons learned from the situation and A&M will educate its athletes about signing multiple items for individuals. Earlier this month ESPN reported that the NCAA was looking into whether Manziel was paid for signing autographs at several locations including in South Florida around the BCS title game. ESPN reported that a set of autograph dealers claimed that Manziel accepted payments to sign more than 4000 items including footballs and photographs at an event in Connecticut in late January. NCAA investigators spent a large chunk of Sunday with Manziel questioning him about allegations from memorabilia dealers that he accepted payments for autographs a source familiar with the investigation told ESPN.com on Monday night. "I am proud of the way both Coach [Kevin] Sumlin and Johnny handled this situation with integrity and honesty" A&M chancellor John Sharp said in the statement. "We all take the Aggie Code of Honor very seriously and there is no evidence that either the university or Johnny violated that code." Manziel's lawyer Jim Darnell told ESPN's Brett McMurphy he did not believe Manziel violated any NCAA rules but he accepted the suspension in order to "get Johnny back on the field." "We don't really believe [the suspension] was warranted but we believe NCAA and Texas A&M worked with us to get this matter resolved" Darnell said. "Johnny was willing to accept it to get back on the football field and compete." Darnell said he was thankful the NCAA resolved the situation before the season began. "It's a win-win for everybody" he said. After the suspension was reported by ESPN Manziel's odds to win the Heisman Trophy moved from 12-1 to 6-1. He is the third favorite behind Braxton Miller (3-1) and Jadeveon Clowney (5-1). Texas A&M staff and players had been instructed earlier this week by school officials not to talk about Manziel.
A&M's Manziel suspended for one half
ESPN | Aug 29