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August 28, 2013In what could turn out to be the most-publicized waste of time and effort in college football history, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has reportedly been suspended for one half of the Aggies' season opener after investigations by the university and the NCAA have concluded.
Manziel was under scrutiny for allegedly accepting money for thousands of autographs signed in the period between Texas A&M's upset victory over Alabama and June. The allegations were made public a day before the Aggies began fall camp, when ESPN's Darren Rovell -- citing unnamed "sources" -- said Manziel had been paid for his signature on multiple occasions. ESPN's Joe Schad later reported seeing a a video of Manziel signing autographs and alleged the Aggie quarterback had been paid $7,500.
Neither Schad nor Rovell could allege that they saw Manziel accept financial compensation for his signings.
While the NCAA conducted its investigation into the matter -- which could have concluded with Manziel losing his eligibility and the football program being sanctioned -- A&M conducted one of its own. An indication into a lack of a smoking gun came last week, when university Chancellor John Sharp proclaimed the quarterback was "innocent" and he had viewed information that cleared Manziel. The NCAA reportedly interviewed Manziel for six hours Sunday, but has made no public comment.
While Manziel has been absolved of the most serious allegations against him by the NCAA and Texas A&M, he appears to have been cited for a violation of section 188.8.131.52 of the NCAA rulebook, which states that student-athletes should take all efforts in their power to prevent their name and likeness for being used for commercial use.
The half-game suspension appears to have been an internal move, with the punishment imposed by A&M. That suspension has been sufficient to meet NCAA standards, as the association has dropped its investigation.
With Manziel benched for a half, the Aggies will either start true freshman Kenny Hill or redshirt junior Matt Joeckel at quarterback. Manziel is the fourth Aggie to be suspended for Saturday's season opener with Rice, as he and corner Deshazor Everett will sit out a half and defensive tackle Kirby Ennis and safety Floyd Raven will miss the entire game.
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