Reporting John P. Lopez
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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – While investigating Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, NCAA investigators were made aware of a “client list” involving numerous college football stars and the same memorabilia brokers involved with Manziel, Sports Radio 610 has learned.
The nature of those relationships was unclear, as was how the NCAA was made aware of the list. But a source close to key figures in the case said multiple notable players who have starred in the game over the past decade were found to have had contact with the same brokers involved in the Manziel case.
The star-studded “client list” goes back as far as 2004, according to the source, and might have rocked the NCAA’s world — especially if the NCAA ruled Manziel ineligible despite no evidence that he accepted money for autographs.
The source said prominent names from virtually every major football conference were found to have had a relationship at some level with the brokers.
The NCAA hence was faced with the prospect of damning evidence involving widespread alleged improprieties perhaps becoming public. It would have been the latest of the NCAA’s numerous embarrassing moments and might have forced the NCAA to rule on numerous cases that spanned several years similar to Manziel’s.
By rule, players can be ruled ineligible retroactively and wins and championships can be vacated. The breadth of potential changes to the record book might have been staggering.
With no evidence that Manziel accepted money for signing memorabilia, the NCAA ruled Wednesday that Manziel must sit out the first-half of Saturday’s game against Rice for violating Rule 22.214.171.124. That rule requires student-athletes to take steps to avoid the sale of items bearing their names or likenesses for commercial purposes.
In a joint statement, Texas A&M and the NCAA announced Wednesday, as first reported by Sports Radio 610, that the case is closed and Manziel’s half-game suspension was, “Due to an inadvertent violation regarding the signing of certain autographs.”