Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant is in the news for sounding off on the Johnny Manziel drama. Bryant received a 10-game suspension to finish off his college career for lying about having dinner with Deion Sanders. If Manziel winds up being suspended, how long do you think his will be?
A two-game suspension might sufficeBlunt honesty here is required: We all know Manziel's status for a home game against Alabama on Sept. 14 is more important to everyone involved -- from Manziel to coach Kevin Sumlin, from casual fans to the TV networks that drive revenues -- than whether he's available against Rice on Aug. 31 or Sam Houston State on Sept. 7. As such, a two-game suspension might be the most likely scenario. While a two-game suspension would draw fire for that very reason, the fire drawn by a season-long suspension or no suspension at all could be worse. The NCAA would insist that the investigative process is blind to the schedule. But the NCAA's recent track record has lost it the benefit of that doubt.
If Manziel is even suspended, it will be briefI'm not convinced Manziel is going to be suspended. Bryant's punishment was harsh because he lied to the NCAA -- and investigators could prove it. (The same thing happened to former Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl.) I'm not sure what the NCAA investigative staff, which lacks personnel and experience, is going to be able to prove with Manziel. If they can prove something -- and Manziel doesn't lie to them -- I can see Manziel being suspended for three or four games.
Would be surprised if penalty is less than season ... if suspendedIf Manziel does indeed get suspended, I would be surprised if it was for less than the season. Why? Because the NCAA would have to have evidence that he indeed did take money for signing items that would later be sold, and if that's the case, prior offenders have received penalties of 4-5 games or more ... even after they reimbursed the agencies or organizations that paid them. And, those were for a few items, not the alleged 1,500 or more items in question here.
No guilt is assumed here. This case still has to play out.
NCAA embarrassed, but time for action is running outIf there's one thing the NCAA hates more than student-athletes cashing in on their notoriety -- after all, that's the NCAA's racket -- it's being embarrassed. USC athletic director Mike Garrett thumbed his nose at the governing body and the Trojans got slammed with crippling sanctions in the Reggie Bush affair, while Ohio State and North Carolina got off basically scot-free for far more egregious and systematic abuses regarding memorabilia sales and academic fraud, respectively. Regardless of whether or not he was actually paid, Manziel has made a mockery of NCAA prohibitions regarding autograph signings, so they will respond in kind. Assuming the NCAA can prove any of the allegations -- or maybe even if they can't -- Manziel's college career will be over. The more critical question is whether the slow-moving mechanisms of the NCAA will be able to deliver a ruling on Manziel's status before the season starts, or if Johnny Football can embarrass the NCAA one more time by running out the clock, playing this season, then scampering off to the NFL.