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Barnes Blogs about... Johnny Football vs NCAA

by Mike Barnes

Bio | Email | Follow: @MikeB_KVUE


Posted on August 5, 2013 at 10:38 AM

It's Monday morning and Johnny Manziel has to play the waiting game.  The NCAA is investigating and will make a decision... someday.

Johnny Football is allegedly in trouble for taking lots of money (more than $10,000) to sign autographs.  And that's against NCAA rules.

You have to understand two things about the NCAA.  First, they can do whatever they want.  They make the rules and you have to live by them.  Recruiting, paying athletes, travel, number of coaches... you name it.  It's all in black and white.

And you can't really blame them.  Every team and every school would love to find a loophole.  And if there weren't restrictions, big schools would have a big advantage.  Ask old-timers about how many scholarships UT gave out in the old days when there weren't limits.  It was an unfair advantage.

And as for money, if the NCAA didn't restrict what athletes could do there would be wide spread "cheating".  Quarterbacks would get hundreds of dollars from boosters for their "autograph".  A picture with a "fan" could get the running back who scored the game winning touchdown thousands.  You've seen it in movies and it happens in real life.  And because the NCAA can't control the "giving" they cut it out completely.

Is that fair?  Not really.  Schools and stores and companies make lots of money on A&M jerseys with Johnny Manziel's number.  The jersey can't have his name on the back, but a #2 in Aggie Maroon means Manziel and that's what fans want.  And Manziel doesn't get a dime.

But, he does get a free education.   A&M pays for everything for him for his time in college and in return, they get to do what they want with his number, his jersey, everything but his name.

So the NCAA sees that as the trade off.

I recently helped my friend Earl Campbell by having him sign a bunch of baseball caps and selling them to raise money to fight Multiple Sclerosis.  We raised more than three thousand dollars.  If I did that with a current UT player, they would be in BIG trouble.  A kind gesture that would probably get them suspended.

And everyone who plays college sports knows that.  Johnny Manziel knows that and still, allegedly, broke the rules.

There are lots of "rules" that aren't exactly the smartest.  Remember when we couldn't drive faster than 55 between Austin and Dallas?   We all knew it would be more efficient and in many ways just as safe to drive 70 or 75, but if we did back then we would get ticketed.

Now it's OK to drive that fast.  People come to their senses and changes happen all the time.

Maybe someday the NCAA will figure out a change to help student athletes.  But that change hasn't happened yet.  And the could be the demise of Johnny Football.