Randy Smith: Who Is To Blame In The “Johnny Football” Controversy?

Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith


“Now men……here at “The Rock”, we have just one rule. And that’s to obey all rules.”-Deputy Barney Fife.

While college football fans, particularly Texas A&M fans wait for the NCAA hammer to drop on Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, we all must ask, “who can we blame for this?” Manziel is facing suspension for part or all of the 2013 season for getting paid for signing autographs in January.  I’ve narrowed it down to three.

First, let’s blame the broker; you know the guy who has stated he paid Manziel $7500 for signing mini-footballs and helmets during the BCS National Championship festivities in January. He reportedly has video of the Heisman winner signing, though there was no evidence of a cash exchange. The broker stated he was videoing the signing for proof the autographs were real. He also said he was no longer interested in selling the video, after ESPN declined to buy it. He did allow an ESPN reporter to see it but so far, no one else has witnessed it.

Secondly, let’s blame Johnny Manziel. He understood the NCAA rules completely. He knew it was wrong to take any money but he allegedly did it anyway. Now he has put his career and the entire Texas A&M season in jeopardy for a mere $7500. I overheard someone say this week, “Johnny Manziel could be the stupidest football player in the country.” I disagree; he’s not stupid. He lacks good moral fiber and character.

Finally, let’s blame the NCAA. It’s been dozens of years since a push began to allow amateur athletes to share in the tremendous profits being made by selling jerseys and autographs among other things. However, nothing has been done. Texas A&M has made a lot of money selling his jersey, so why shouldn’t he get a cut? I‘m sure “Johnny Football” himself would agree. There is absolutely nothing at all fair about that rule. Yet, it’s still there and the NCAA continues to enforce it.

There it is. All the blame for a potential lost season for Manziel and his Aggie teammates placed on two individuals and the NCAA. Guys like the broker who paid the money will always be there; bending and breaking rules simply to put money in his bank account. There will always be athletes like Manziel who is tempted by these jackals to have some extra spending money in his pocket. $7500 really isn’t a lot of money by today’s standards but it’s a lot when you’re a young man with few real expenses.

There is absolutely no way to enforce this rule. There are too many brokers and too many athletes to keep an eye on all of them, so only the high profile, Heisman Trophy winners and big-time college football players on nationally prominent teams will be caught. (Remember Ohio State?) With that stated, the NCAA should change or modify that rule right away.

I strongly feel if Johnny Manziel is guilty he should be punished. As unfair as the NCAA rule is, it was wrong to knowingly break it. And speaking of unfair……..the people who are affected the most by this are Manziel’s Aggie teammates. Texas A&M goes from a top-five program with “Johnny Football” to a non-top 25 team without him. That big offensive lineman who never gets recognized or asked for an autograph was counting on Manziel to be there to help him get a championship ring and make some super memories. Oh well.


rsmithsports@comcast.net

---

Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).


Moran Wins 46th PGA Tennessee Professional Championship

MORAN CAPTURES 46th PGA TENNESSEE PROFESSIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP KNOXVILLE – Scott Moran of Knoxville, TN, winner of the Tennessee Section PGA Professional Championship, Aug. 18-20 at Holston Hills Country Club will lead six Section PGA Professionals to compete in the 48th PGA Professional National Championship, June 21-24, 2015, at The Philadelphia Cricket Club.  Moran turned ... (click for more)

Lookouts Hanging Tough As Season Nears End

Although they have an up-hill climb to make the playoffs, the Lookouts are not quitters. Currently tied for second in the SL North Division, the Lookouts are 3.0 games behind the Tennessee Smokies. The Smokies and Lookouts will end the season with a five-game series at AT&T Field beginning August 28. Chattanooga beat the Barons in their series finale by a score of 6-4 ... (click for more)

Boy, 16, To Face Murder Charges In Criminal Court On Triple Lookout Valley Slayings

A Lookout Valley youth who was 15 at the time of his alleged involvement in a massacre in the valley will stand trial as an adult. Jacob Allison, who is now 16, was taken by the sheriff's office to the Hamilton County Jail after a transfer hearing in Juvenile Court on Friday morning. Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw said under state law he has jurisdiction over rehabilitation ... (click for more)

Justin Wilkins Selected As Deputy Chief Of Staff For Mayor Berke

Native Chattanoogan Justin Wilkins will serve as Mayor Andy Berke's deputy chief of staff, it was announced Friday. Mr. Wilkins has spent the last several years serving as the Tennessee state director for multiple advocacy and electoral organizations, including Organizing for America and Organizing for Action. Prior to that, he worked as project manager at Profit Plans LLC ... (click for more)

Black Creek TIF Decision-Who Guards The Hen House? - And Response

Citizens of Chattanooga were invited to give public comment before their own Industrial Development Board Aug. 15. They arrived to find foxes guarding their hen house.  Many thought the meeting was their opportunity to seek redress in the ill-conceived Black Creek Tax Increment Financing plan. However, they learned it was a sham orchestrated by both the past and present ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Let’s ‘Pay It Forward’

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, this at a Starbucks coffee store located at 2186 Tyrone Blvd. in St. Petersburg, Fla.,  an unidentified woman who was first in line at the drive-through window, politely told the drive-through window clerk she would like to “pay it forward.” The clerk checked the next order – it was a caramel macchiato – and the first customer paid for both her ... (click for more)