The focus of our coaches and student-athletes is solely on preparing for Rice. I have instructed Coach Sumlin, his staff and our student-athletes to refrain from commenting on or answering questions regarding the status of our starting quarterback, Johnny Manziel.
Manziel continues to be the subject of some controversy surrounding autograph signings -- and may or may not be under NCAA investigation -- but at this point it appears the Heisman winner will start against Rice on Saturday.
The autograph saga began with an ESPN report alleging that Manziel had been paid to sign memorabilia. ESPN also reported that the NCAA was investigating the matter, though Manziel's lawyer later refuted that claim, adding that the NCAA had made no formal allegations.
In any case, no concrete proof of rules violations has surfaced in the weeks since the initial report, leaving little reason to believe Manziel's eligibility is in jeopardy. Additional autograph brokers have stepped forward to claim Manziel signed things for them, but some of their evidence appears circumstantial at best.
We know Manziel has the support of Texas A&M's chancellor, among others, and barring any huge developments in the coming days, it's a good bet the quarterback will be on the field Saturday.