By Zac Ellis
While Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel finds himself in the thick of an NCAA investigation into whether he accepted money for autographs, South Carolina has pumped the brakes on a similar scandal sprouting up around star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
After SB Nation reported early Wednesday that it had discovered a large number of Clowney-signed items on eBay, South Carolina's compliance office told GoGamecocks.com that the school had looked into the signatures and determined that no NCAA violations occurred.
“We have investigated things that have been on eBay with him and student-athletes before,” associate athletics director Chris Rogers said. “In the situations I can say we looked into, there was no further for us to go, and we determined there was no violation.”
Clowney and Manziel are hardly the only players with signed items on eBay. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron are just a few of the star players who have signed items that appear on eBay complete with certificates of authenticity. But searching Clowney's name turns up a whopping 266 signed items for sale, according to SB Nation's report.
Players are allowed to sign autographs, but an NCAA violation would occur if Clowney, Manziel or any other current student athlete accepted money for an autograph. NCAA Bylaw 18.104.22.168 prevents a student athlete from accepting money for promoting or advertising the commercial sale of a product or service. Reports this week have linked Manziel, last season's Heisman Trophy winner, to a handful of autograph brokers who claim to have paid the Texas A&M star for his signatures. On Tuesday, an ESPN.com report cited two East Coast brokers who claimed to have paid Manziel $7,500 for his signature on approximately 300 mini and full-sized football helmets in January. The brokers recorded video of Manziel signing the items on a bed in a hotel room, and though the video does not show Manziel accepting money, Manziel can reportedly be heard telling the brokers that he would refuse to deal with them in the future if they told anyone about the dealings.