The NCAA is investigating whether Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was paid for signing hundreds of autographs on photos and sports memorabilia in January, ESPN's "Outside the Lines" has learned.
According to two sources, Manziel signed items in exchange for a five-figure fee during his trip to Miami for the BCS National Championship Game back in January. The sources also said that they saw the signing, but neither saw any money exchange hands.
Three sources told "Outside the Lines" that Manziel signed photographs, footballs, mini football helmets and other items at the request of an autograph broker named Drew Tieman, who two sources said met Manziel when he landed in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Jan. 6 before the BCS title game.
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After that meeting, three sources said, Manziel, accompanied by his friend and personal assistant Nathan Fitch, visited Tieman's residence and signed hundreds of items in the main room of the apartment despite the fact that there were many people in the room. Before Manziel left South Florida, after taking in the title game, he signed hundreds of autographs more, one source said.
The source also told "Outside the Lines" that James Garland, the NCAA's assistant director of enforcement, in June contacted Tieman and at least one person associated with the signings. The source said Garland, who did not return calls from "Outside the Lines" for comment, told the person that he wanted to talk about Manziel signing items that had appeared for sale on eBay. An NCAA spokeswoman cited NCAA policy to "Outside the Lines" and declined to comment.
Earlier this year, after Manziel-signed items flooded the memorabilia market, Texas A&M compliance director, David Batson, told ESPN.com that Manziel had never been compensated with cash or other benefits from autographs.
If the NCAA finds that Manziel accepted money for promoting or advertising the commercial sale of a product he could be ruled ineligible.