If Johnny Manziel's lawyer is telling the truth, there is no active NCAA investigation into whether or not his client received cash to sign autographs -- and although there have been reports of an investigation, no official source has confirmed that the association is actually looking into the 2012 Heisman winner.
The news comes from a tiny snippet in an article by KVIA, a CBS affiliate in El Paso, about Jim Darnell, the Manziel family's attorney. We knew that the family had retained the lawyer with experience in several NCAA cases -- who, by the way, is the most Texas man alive -- but what's important here is a tidbit he casually dropped in a story about how he expects his client to be eligible to play Week 1 against Rice.
Darnell said the NCAA has not started an investigation into Manziel and that there has been no formal allegations made by the NCAA.
SB Nation's Good Bull Hunting were the first to pick up on the importance of the comment. They also point out that nobody has really backed up the original story, which is true. Everything we know about an NCAA investigation stems from Darren Rovell's initial ESPN report, which states merely that the association's assistant director of enforcement called up the autograph broker who allegedly paid Manziel and "at least one person associated with the signings."
That's a far cry from the type of inquiry that would be needed to declare Manziel ineligible, and there's no evidence such an inquiry is underway.
We know that Texas A&M has hired the same lawyers Auburn hired in Cam Newton's case, but you don't need to be under investigation to consult legal counsel. It's possible A&M was simply trying to understand their legal options if the widely reported investigation were to take place.
We know that Kevin Sumlin said he was aware of the Manziel scandal, but he said he heard about it the same way everybody else did, and was very careful to say that he hadn't heard from A&M compliance staff or his higher-ups about any investigation, and that even if there was an investigation, he might not be the one to hear about it. Basically, all Sumlin said is that he has eyes and ears.
And on Thursday Mark Emmert took the microphone to talk about the embarrassing NCAA store website incident, and although that incident stemmed from the piqued curiosity about whether athletes should be able to make money off of their own likeness, at no point did he touch on the Manziel scenario. To be fair, he wouldn't regularly comment on an active NCAA investigation, but he would be able to say whether or not one was ongoing.
Good Bull Hunting had this to say:
Well, that is a pretty damn big revelation in this whole saga if you ask me. Rovell has mentioned to his attackers on Twitter on multiple occasions that it is his job to report the news of the investigation. Since then we've seen backtracking and no ability from either Rovell or Schad to bring forth any sort of evidence in the case... If this thing turns out to be an entirely forced story by ESPN, oh man. The fury of Aggieland will be fierce and swift on Rovell and Schad.
In a separate story in USA Today, Manziel's lawyer did say that Manziel was "cooperating with the investigation," although that could be an internal investigation by A&M into what happened like the ones schools like South Carolina, Clemson, and Ohio State conducted into their players.
More from SB Nation's Aggie Blog, Good Bull Hunting, on Manziel
- The Plot Thickens: No Active Investigation on Manziel
- What Would the 2013 Texas A&M Season Be Like Without Johnny Manziel?
- Johnny Autograph: Avatar Generator
- If Johnny Manziel signed bulk autographs, was he the only one?
- Another ESPN Autograph Gate Report