Sports

August 15, 2013

A&M chancellor: Manziel’s ‘heart in the right place’

John Sharp questioned why NCAA rules don’t allow athletes to profit from their own name.

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp defended his school’s embattled star quarterback, calling Johnny Manziel “a good kid” and questioning why a college athlete can’t make money off his name.

Manziel, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, has been accused of signing autographs for pay from memorabilia dealers by sources on ESPN’s Outside the Lines. Sources said he signed his name more than 4,400 times and the NCAA is investigating whether any of the signings violate NCAA by-laws.

Sharp, in Fort Worth to discuss A&M’s acquisition of the Texas Wesleyan School of Law, said he doesn’t believe the stories involving Manziel and autograph-and-memorabilia dealers.

“He is a good kid. He is an honest kid,” Sharp said. “He has his heart in the right place. My mother wishes I was as nice a kid as Johnny when I was a sophomore in college.

Sharp said he was speaking for himself when he questioned why the NCAA or a university can profit from an athlete such as Manziel, but the athlete can’t profit from himself.

Sharp said college athletes who compete in the Olympics can profit from their names, but NCAA athletes can’t.

Sharp cited the Sherman Antitrust Act and added: “Sooner or later some court is going to say that ain’t right.”

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