According to GoGamcocks, the South Carolina compliance office has not discovered any wrongdoing with regards to the slew of autographs signed by defensive end Jadeveon Clowney cropping up on eBay.
“We have investigated things that have been on EBay with him and student-athletes before,” associate athletics director Chris Rogers said. “In the situations I can say we looked into, there was no further for us to go, and we determined there was no violation.”
ESPN’s Outside the Lines originally reported that the NCAA was investigating whether Texas A&M quarterback and reigning Heisman winner Johnny Manziel had accepted cash to sign 300 autographs for a broker in a hotel room. Since that time, reporters have looked into other groupings of merchandise, while schools have locked down their premiere players.
The same brokers who have several pieces of Manziel memorabilia on eBay also have Clowney, Teddy Bridgewater and Braxton Miller gear for sale.
Rogers continued, however, saying that he and his department are continually monitoring Clowney’s autographs.
“We are regularly looking at things that are on those sorts of sites,” Rogers said. “It’s a difficult issue to get your arms around.”
Interestingly, one signed photo of Clowney includes 11 pictures of the defensive end signing the photo in a hotel room – very similar to the “incriminating” photo of Manziel signing autographs in a hotel. Rogers acknowledges those photos, but he says he only deals with what he knows to be 100-percent factual.
“I have seen pictures of him in a hotel signing stuff before,” said Rogers, who confirmed he has seen the 11 photos with the 8×10 photo. “We are monitoring EBay regularly so any of those sorts of things that come, whether it’s autographed memorabilia, pictures of a student-athlete, whatever it might be, basically what we are trying to ascertain is, ‘Is there credible enough information for us to investigate further?’
“If you look up Jadeveon Clowney there are hundreds and hundreds of hits. We are trying to ascertain which of those are worth pursuing and which are not.”
The school has not gone to the lengths USC has to protect star wide receiver Marqise Lee. The Trojans are issuing cease-and-desist orders to stop the sale of autographs doled out by the nation’s premiere college wide receiver.
If the NCAA feels it should be pursuing Manziel for signing autographs in hotel rooms, there may enough to do the same with regards to Clowney – unless, of course, the governing body of intercollegiate athletics takes Rogers and the Gamecocks compliance office at face value.
Whether that happens or not remains to be seen, but this is not the first time South Carolina has hustled to come out in defense of the program’s most high-profile player. The school issued a hand-written letter stating there was no evidence of wrongdoing after reports indicated that Clowney had already spoken to Jay-Z regarding professional representation.