Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 28, 2013
My opinion will not be very popular amongst Duck fans, but such is life.

The NCAA got the Manziel situation right. Frr a change, the NCAA acted swiftly and in a manner that was as strong a they could possibly act given the circumstances.

Before delving deeper into those thoughts, though, first I am continually amazed at how much Duck fans seem to care about Manziel and his exploits. More directly, I am surprised at the animosity so many Duck fans have towards this young man.

Maybe their vitriol is simply about reaffirming their admiration of Oregon's own quarterback. But it still makes little sense. Has Manziel been perfect? Absolutely not; he has made his share of mistakes. None of them, however, have been egregious enough to think that this is not just a young kid working his way through life the best he knows how and making some mistakes along the way.

We have all made them. The only difference is that most of us did not have the glare of the Heisman spotlight following our every move and every word. I dare most to respond any better than Manziel has responded.

Most would fail.

Oregon fans need to also be a little more cautious when insulting the NCAA for this action being too "light" in their eyes. While Duck fans have insulated themselves well against most of the criticism levied by national analysts over the past two plus years, the reality is that most people outside of Oregon believe the Ducks got off easy.

Being too close to the situation tends to distort your vision.

But before anyone gets high and mighty about how badly the NCAA screwed up look at the facts:

1) The memorabilia dealers refused to talk to the NCAA investigators.
2) The accusations are that Manziel accepted cash payments.
3) Bank records showed no abnormal deposits around the time of the autograph sessions.

As Duck fans reminisce on the Cam Newton situation where the father admitted shopping Newton's signature around, yet no punishment was handed down, this is a win for the NCAA. Despite having no evidence that Manziel accepted payments for his signatures, they were able to get Manziel's attorney to agree to a half game suspension.

This sets a tone. Athletes should know better than to sign autographs for collectors; it will put them square in the cross hairs of the NCAA enforcement team.

As for Manziel's attornet alleging that nothing inappropriate happened, well, that is a lot of "legalese" on their part. It's one thing for players to sign autographs outside a game; or at team sponsored "fan fest" days. When a player takes matter into his own hands and signs thousands of autographs for a known broker, he has crossed a line.

Should this line even exist? That is a different matter. One I will not take on at the moment.

By accepting the punishment, the Manziel family and Texas A&M football team get to move on with the 2013 season. The NCAA? They get to point to a quick resolution that sets a precedent. Signing autographs for a broker, regardless of receipt of money for the signatures is now a violation.

Precedents re how changes are made. The NCAA is changing and we will all have to work through their growing pains.

I just don't get why so many Oregon fans care so much.


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