The NCAA has been anything but a model of consistency when it comes to punishing its players for breaking the incredibly lengthy rule book. Given its history, it should come as no surprise that the NCAA has made a complete joke of itself by suspending Texas A&M quarterback and college football sensation Johnny Manziel for a lengthy one half game.
Inconsistency reigns supreme when punishing rule violations in collegiate sports. If a female golfer can be fined for washing her car with a campus hose because it counts as receiving improper benefits, and North Carolina’s PJ Hairston can earn an indefinite suspension because of reckless driving, how can Manziel only miss half a game for his violations?
Johnny Manziel has had an offseason filled with questionable decisions. Alleged Drug and alcohol use scattered throughout his time away from the field as if he was just a 20 year old, oh…you’re telling me that he is? He was supposed to become a role model in the spotlight, but he has struggled like so many college sophomores would when thrust into the nation’s focus. Still, those habits he has developed are in violation of NCAA policy.
Bar fights and possession of a fake ID as well as a disorderly conduct charge. He reached a plea deal that made the disorderly conduct charges go away, and was not punished by the league.
The autograph allegations are more serious. The NCAA does not let its athletes make money off of their efforts while in college, and signing memorabilia certainly constitutes doing as such. The league conducted an investigation but apparently did not have enough evidence to actually prove that Manziel profited by his actions.
Investigators confirmed that “there is no evidence Manziel received money in exchange for autographs based on currently available information and statements by Manziel.” This makes the suspension of Manziel a joke on two fronts.
If the NCAA really has nothing on the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, how would they possibly justify suspending him at all? Just to try and look tough perhaps, but a half game suspension really fails to accomplish that.
The second possibility is that they have enough evidence to suspend him, but have no interest in keeping the face of NCAA football off of the field. That would result in a loss of money, and the league certainly doesn’t want that.
Regardless of which of the two is correct, the NCAA punishments are drastically inconsistent. Dez Bryant has the right to be upset, he should be shaking with anger actually.
The NCAA took a potential Heisman winning season away from Bryant, suspended him for the entire season, because he lied about having lunch with Deion Sanders. An entire season for lying, yet alleged drug use and profiting on signing memorabilia are only worth a half game.
Hardly sounds fair.
As Bryant himself would admit, we’re all happy to see Manziel on the field this year, however it just doesn’t feel fair to everyone else who has been suspended or otherwise sanctioned by the NCAA for much lesser violations. College athletes favor the stars, they make that clearer and clearer every time.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express