The NCAA is investigating whether Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was paid for signing hundreds of autographs on photos and sports memorabilia in January "Outside the Lines" has learned. Two sources tell "Outside the Lines" that the Texas A&M quarterback agreed to sign memorabilia in exchange for a five-figure flat fee during his trip to Miami for the Discover BCS National Championship. Both sources said they witnessed the signing though neither saw the actual exchange of money. Three sources said Manziel signed photographs footballs mini football helmets and other items at the request of an autograph broker named Drew Tieman. Two sources who are aware of the signing arrangement told "Outside the Lines" that Tieman approached Manziel on Jan. 6 when he landed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to attend the game between Alabama and Notre Dame the next day. After that meeting three sources said Manziel accompanied by his friend and personal assistant Nathan Fitch visited Tieman's residence and signed hundreds of items in the main room of the apartment despite the fact that there were many people in the room. Before Manziel left South Florida after taking in the title game he signed hundreds of autographs more one source said. The source also told "Outside the Lines" that James Garland the NCAA's assistant director of enforcement in June contacted Tieman and at least one person associated with the signings. The source said Garland who did not return calls from "Outside the Lines" for comment told the person that he wanted to talk about Manziel signing items that had appeared for sale on eBay. An NCAA spokeswoman cited NCAA policy to "Outside the Lines" and declined to comment. If the NCAA investigation finds that Manziel has violated NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199 -- accepting money for promoting or advertising the commercial sale of a product or service -- he could be ruled ineligible. Attempts to reach Manziel were unsuccessful. Tieman did not return multiple calls and text messages. Fitch could not be reached. In a statement Jason Cook Texas A&M's senior associate athletics director for external affairs said "it is Texas A&M's longstanding practice not to respond to such questions concerning specific student-athletes." Texas A&M declined further comment. But A&M has responded to questions about Manziel and autographs before. On March 6 when ESPN.com contacted the school's compliance director David Batson to address a slew of Manziel-signed items that had flooded the memorabilia market Batson provided a statement: "Johnny has indicated on numerous occasions and once again earlier today that he has never (and to his knowledge his parents other relatives and friends have ever) been compensated through cash or other benefits or promises of deferred compensation for providing his autograph" Batson wrote. While college athletes are frequently asked to sign autographs in public places and those autographs often end up for sale on eBay the amount of Manziel product that flooded the memorabilia market overall following the BCS title game was overwhelming memorabilia dealers told "Outside the Lines." While Manziel's father Paul had alleged that many of the items were fake two of the leading autograph authentication companies PSA/DNA and JSA have authenticated many of the items. Officials with both companies have told ESPN in recent months that they stand by their guarantee that they believe the signatures some with inscriptions like "Gig 'Em" and "Heisman '12" are genuine. Online verification databases show a single lot of 999 signed Manziel photos numbered sequentially. JSA authenticated 248 items and 376 items that came in in two batches that also are numbered sequentially. Industry insiders say this indicates the signings were done in large quantities intended for wholesale.
Sources: NCAA investigating Manziel for profiting from autographs
ESPN | Aug 4