The NCAA may have a far larger problem on its hands than the initial question of whether or not Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was paid $7,500 to sign 300 autographs for a broker. That is in spite of the fact that we are talking about a far smaller amount of merchandise.
Ourselves, along with Busted Coverage, Fansided and Good Bull Hunting (yes, there are that many autographs floating around out there), have done some digging into the eBay accounts of the_hub_collectibles and sportsagent2be.
What we have found is interesting, to say the least. Under the the_hub_collectibles account, there were originally 19 signed pieces of Manziel memorabilia alleged to be connected with the payments made to Johnny Football.
While no connection has been made, there are exactly 19 Jadeveon Clowney pieces of merchandise as well. However, sportsagent2be is selling much more. Good Bull Hunting took the liberty of doing the math for us:
Often when an item on eBay has been authenticated by JSA, the seller will include a photograph showing a letter, certificate, or sticker with the JSA number. In fact, the first item I looked at after searching for “Clowney JSA” included a card with the JSA Certificate # I57666. I entered the number into the verification search on the JSA website and the resulting description matched the Clowney autographed jersey. To see if there was a consecutive sequence of Clowney items, I started plugging in other nearby numbers. The series of 153 JSA Certificates from I57600 – I57752 contains only Clowney autographed items including jerseys, full-sized helmets, mini-helmets, magazines, and more. Interestingly, the next number in the sequence begins a series of autographed items from South Carolina teammate Marcus Lattimore. Items autographed by Lattimore make up the 119-item sequence from I57751- I57869.
There is absolutely no connection between any dollars spent and Clowney. However, these are a lot of signatures.
It does not stop there. There are plenty of Teddy Bridgewater autographs being auctioned off by the_hub_collectibles as well. Busted Coverage took the following two screencaps.
The exact same broker also boasts plenty of merchandise from Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.
Did any of these three college football superstars accept a dime from this autograph broker for their respective signatures? Who knows.
The point is that if Johnny Manziel’s behavior behind closed doors is going to be called into question, we must dig deeper and try to figure out exactly what is going on here. It seems extremely coincidental that some of the biggest stars of the game today would all have several pieces of merchandise offered on one person’s eBay account.
Unless they were bulk signing, which is part of what Manziel is being accused of.
Then again, all could simply have spent a few hours in a random hotel room with a sketchy autograph broker, scrawled out a bunch of signatures and walked away totally empty-handed for their efforts. Should all have been bulk signing, such would be the only real legal excuse.
The dots in this case are not even close to being completely connected as of writing. For all we know, these truly are completely coincidental findings.
Or, the lid is about to be blown off a massive autographing endeavor that could endanger the 2013 seasons of a gaggle of college football’s biggest stars.
All of this comes on the heels of USC sending cease-and-desist letters to prevent the sales of Marqise Lee autographs.