What many believed could have been a season-ender for Texas A&M and sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel turned into little more than a slap on the right wrist Wednesday afternoon.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner was suspended for the first half of the Aggies season opener Saturday against Rice in College Station after the NCAA was not able to prove through evidence “Johnny Football” received financial benefits for signing autographs. The NCAA and A&M agreed on the half-game punishment because Manziel violated an NCAA bylaw.
Closer to home Arizona State Vice President for Athletics and Athletic Director Steve Patterson has been keeping a close eye on the situation.
“We constantly watch,”Patterson told Pros2Preps.com in a recent interview. “Every AD’s gotta be thinking about it everyday. There’s plenty of ways people can run afoul from the rules. I don’t know what Texas A&M had in place or has in place but obviously when somebody’s a Heisman Trophy winner and is high-profile more people are going to be keeping an eye on him and more opportunities are going to be presented to him.”
Patterson said ASU takes a hands-on approach by educating their student-athletes of the possible pitfalls from outside distractions. The administration is also in constant communication with the coaching staff, keeping them abreast of the ever-changing rules handed down by the NCAA in this fast-food, social media-driven landscape we live in. He said they go so far as running tests and clinics in hopes of conveying the message as clear as possible.
Patterson said the task is rarely foolproof.”With 500 student-athletes and 100 coaches, are you going to be perfect?” he explained to Pros2Preps.com. “On any given day, any institution may not be perfect. You want to minimize your mistakes. Report them if you make a mistake and take your lumps.”
Although Manziel’s punishment had little, if any, lasting effects on the Aggies’ football program, ASU and schools around the country are likely to take situations similar to this even more serious moving forward, especially after other marquee football programs like USC and Ohio State were slapped with lost scholarships and bowl bans for previous NCAA infractions.