NCAA investigators met with Johnny Manziel for nearly six hours over the weekend, questioning the Texas A&M quarterback over allegations that he received payments for autographs on several occasions, a source told ESPN's Travis Haney. According to the report, it remains unclear if the NCAA was satisfied with the meeting, or if the governing body plans to set up another time to meet with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
Reports allege that Manziel exchanged autographs for money on a handful of occasions, including in Miami during January's BCS championship game. An autograph dealer told ESPN that Manziel accepted payments in exchange for more than 4,000 signed items at an event in Connecticut in January.
There has been speculation that Texas A&M may consider benching Manziel until the case is resolved, but the Aggies have given no indication as to Manziel's status heading into their season opener against Rice on Saturday. Players and coaches have been instructed to not answer questions regarding Manziel's status or the NCAA investigation, according to a statement from A&M athletic director Eric Hyman:
"The focus of our coaches and student-athletes is solely on preparing for Rice this Saturday," Hyman said in the statement, "and in the best interests of Texas A&M and the 100-plus student-athletes on the team, 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."Still, the university has largely supported Manziel publicly, most notably chancellor John Sharp, who last week told College Station's KBTX that he knows Manziel is innocent. When asked how he knew that to be true, Sharp said, "I just know. I've seen things that other folks can't see. And it didn't happen. It did not happen."