Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is in trouble again, this time for allegedly getting paid to write his name on a bunch of stuff. Meanwhile, his college, Texas A&M, has banked tens of millions of dollars thanks to his high-profile image.
The glaring dichotomy underscores one of the most controversial policies of the NCAA, which prohibits student athletes from making money from, or allowing someone else to make money from, their names or likenesses.
In Manziel's case, the NCAA is investigating whether he was paid a few thousand dollars for signing autographs last season in two alleged incidents. If the NCAA determines that he did, in fact, get paid to sign autographs, he could be suspended for the entire upcoming season.
Texas A&M, however, can make all the money it wants off of Manziel's exploits. And given the quarterback's headline-grabbing actions on and off the field, that has proven to be quite a lucrative business for the school.
Last year, the college's first in the SEC, Texas A&M's athletic department raked in $120 million in revenue, sixth-highest of any school in the country.
How did they do it? In part, merchandising.
A replica #2 jersey goes for $60 through the school's bookstore, just one of the many items for sale with Manziel's number. The jersey was so popular the bookstore sold out of them — all 2,500 — last December, according to ESPN.
The NCAA store, too, has a copious amount of Manziel-related merch. Despite the NCAA's insistence that it does not link apparel to specific players, with a little URL hack, a search for "Manziel" turns up a handful of Aggies items.
Manziel also brought his school a wave of media exposure that was worth an estimated $37 million from last November through early January, according to one study, a period in which Manziel won the Heisman and led the Aggies to a resounding Cotton Bowl win. Speaking of the Cotton Bowl, Texas A&M made $7.45 million just for appearing in that game, a sum they will split with Oklahoma.
Even the school's booster program, the 12th Man Foundation, has made money off Manziel, auctioning a dinner with him for $20,000.
Manziel will see none of that.
The Aggies football staff, however, will. Head football coach Kevin Sumlin got a $1.1 million per season raise thanks to the team's strong 2012 season. The rest of the coaching staff was handed an extra $700,000 to share between them.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Why America won't have enough money to battle ISIS
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week