Update: This is reportedly the conclusion to the Manziel autograph investigation:
Manziel 1st half suspension "closes the book" on Manziel/autograph saga. NCAA acknowledges Manziel did not accept money, source said— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) August 28, 2013
That's that. The suspension is reportedly for violating NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124, which forbids a player from permitting "the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind." George Schroeder reports the violation is being termed "inadvertent."
In other words, the NCAA couldn't prove Manziel was paid, but it could prove he knew his autographs would be sold. And a half-game suspension was a compromise that A&M accepted.
A&M fans are celebrating here.
We're still waiting to hear the NCAA's recommendation on whether A&M should play Manziel, but this probably won't do much to appease the NCAA if it wants him to sit. A&M would still be playing him for a half, and for the NCAA's purposes, one play is enough to say a program fielded an ineligible player.
Various reports have accused the reigning Heisman Trophy winner of signing autographs in exchange for payment. None of those reports have provided anything in the way of a paper trail or any hard evidence that he took money, though. This could be related to something else, as Manziel has had one of the busier offseasons for a college football player in recent memory.
If Manziel does indeed sit, he'll be replaced by redshirt junior Matt Joeckel. Even if he were to miss the entire game, the Aggies shouldn't have too much trouble taking care of the Owls at home.