On Campus: Is Manziel his own worst enemy?
Philadelphia, PA – What Johnny Manziel has accomplished in just one year at Texas A&M will permanently etch his name in the annals of major college football.
Unfortunately, what he has done since winning the Heisman in early December of last year, may be equally memorable.
Some people flourish under the bright lights, while others struggle. There is no denying Manziel's ability to shine on the field, but his decision-making off the field has been troublesome to say the least, and in the end, may cost him the remainder of his collegiate career.
Manziel burst on the college football scene in 2012, coming out of nowhere to lead Texas A&M into its SEC era and firmly implant the Aggies as a team with serious national title hopes.
Manziel shattered the SEC single-season record for total offense, surpassing Auburn's Cam Newton, who topped Florida's Tim Tebow before him. The freshman phenom completed 68 percent of his passes, for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns, while rushing for a ridiculous 1,410 yards and another 21 scores in 2012.
The volume of his work forced the Heisman voters to do something they had never done before, making Manziel the first-ever freshman to win the award, a watershed moment in the history of college football.
Since taking home the ultimate hardware on Dec. 8 of last year, Manziel has been busy, mostly trying to put out fires he himself has started via social media.
Responsible behavior on social media is a must in today's day and age, but that idea seems foreign to Manziel. In his defense, he certainly isn't alone.
It started a couple of weeks after winning the Heisman when Manziel was seen courtside at a Miami Heats game and then had to defend his being there via Twitter.
Shortly after his Aggies routed Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, a now infamous Instagram photo surfaced of Manziel with a handful of cash in an Indian casino, with a caption that read: "Casino Ballin."
Other photos have surfaced of Manziel partying it up, as the celebrated signal-caller has not been shy in sharing his social calendar with the world.
None of that in and of itself is proof of anything more than a 20-year old enjoying his new found fame. It certainly isn't proof of anything that could cost Manziel his amateur status.
However, where there's smoke there's usually fire, and the Manziel timeline towards potential self destruction has sped up considerably in the last two months.
In mid-June, Manziel received a parking ticket in front of his own house in College Station, which prompted a late night tweet from the Aggie that read:
"Bulls### like tonight is a reason why I can't wait to leave college station ... whenever it may be."
That didn't sit well with the Texas A&M faithful to be sure and it wasn't long before Manziel was on Twitter again, showing nothing but love for A&M and College Station.
About a month later in mid-July, Manziel abruptly left the Manning Passing Academy and speculation arose that he was hung over and asked to leave, a notion he vehemently denied a short time thereafter at the SEC media event
Again, while none of those incidents caused the NCAA to raise an eyebrow, the governing body is now on the job after multiple reports have surfaced regarding Manziel taking money for autograph sessions.
According to an ESPN report, Manziel is being actively investigated for signing memorabilia at last season's BCS Championship Game for a flat fee.
Other brokers have piled on with similar stories, including the most recent one that an East Coast autograph broker claims paying Manziel $7,500 for signing helmets in January, while attending the Walter Camp Football Foundation event in New Haven, Conn. The broker, according to a recent ESPN.com report, has cell phone videos of Manziel signing the helmets.
Although no money is reported to have changed hands on the videos, you can be sure the NCAA will do everything in its power to follow any and all leads.
Manziel cold be in danger of violating NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199 -
"Advertisements and Promotions After Becoming a Student-Athlete."
After becoming a student-athlete, an individual shall not be eligible for participation in intercollegiate athletics if the individual:
(a) Accepts any remuneration for or permits the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind; or
(b) Receives remuneration for endorsing a commercial product or service through the individual's use of such product or service.
Whether or not anything comes of the NCAA's investigation remains to be seen and of course the burden of proof lies solely with the NCAA.
However, it is hard to look at all that has happened over the last nine months and feel too much sympathy for Manziel.
Being in the spotlight 24 hours a day can't be easy, but constantly painting a bull's-eye on your own back doesn't seem like the wisest of moves.
Still, the sheer number of questionable decisions by Manziel since the end of last season may point to a deeper problem, a privileged young man that simply doesn't care.