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Easy to find autographs of college stars for sale
NEW YORK (AP) - A simple search on eBay reveals Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is far from the only college football player whose autograph is for sale.
Pick a star and you can find memorabilia with a supposedly verified signature.
South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney. Ohio State’s Braxton Miller. Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas. Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater. Alabama’s AJ McCarron. The list goes on and on.
The difference is ESPN has reported the NCAA is investigating whether Manziel, the Texas A&M quarterback, got paid to sign autographs, which would violate amateurism rules. That has led to other schools being asked questions about whether their players earned money for signatures.
If the allegations against Manziel, made by unidentified sources to ESPN, are proved true by the NCAA, his eligibility for the coming season could be in doubt as well as his status as a Heisman winner.
ESPN reported that a top autograph authenticator had authenticated nearly 1,000 Manziel autographs.
Brandon Steiner of Steiner Sports, which is the official collectible and memorabilia company of the NBA, the New York Yankees and Notre Dame, among others, said his company does not do business with college athletes.
He said Manziel would likely be able to sign a contract with a collectibles company of at least $100,000 after he went pro.
“I know there is a vibrant Heisman Trophy collectible audience out there,” he said.
A market flooded with Manziel autographs could cost him money later, Steiner said.
“It creates market confusion and takes a lot away from the category,” Steiner said Wednesday.
Other college athletes might want to take note.
Two sports websites _ bustedcoverage.com and goodbullhunting.com _ found what appeared to be dozens of authenticated items signed by Clowney online, and that led to questions for South Carolina officials.
Associate athletic director Chris Rogers said Wednesday the school’s compliance office has looked into the Clowney autographs on eBay and found no violations had occurred.
“The websites that we’ve looked at and the pictures and autographs and items that we’ve found over the last academic year, we’ve not had any issues to suggest that anything impermissible had occurred,” Rogers said.
By Tom Fitton
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