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Report: Florida State looking into Jameis Winston autographs

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Mike Groll / Associated Press
Jameis Winston's recent off-field incidents have caused his draft stock to fall.

An investigation into whether a college football player accepted money in exchange for autographs has already thrown the career of the Heisman front-runner, Todd Gurley, into jeopardy this season, and a similar probe might yet trip up the remaining eligibility of the Heisman's reigning winner.


Winston's off-the-field incidents

Incident (Nov. 2012): Stopped at gunpoint
Winston detained by police at gunpoint, and investigated for damage at apartment complex from BB gun fight.

Incident (Dec. 2012): Sexual assault allegation
Winston was not charged with sexual assault after being under investigation in a case from Dec. 7, 2012.

Incident (April 2014): Shoplifting crab legs
Cited for shoplifting crab legs from a grocery store.

Incident (Sept. 2014): Obscene comments in public
Suspended for shouting vulgar remark in FSU's student union.

Incident (Oct. 2014): Report: Police obstructed probe
Investigation reveals that FSU and Tallahassee police hid sexual assault allegations.

Incident (Oct. 2014): FSU looks into autographs
Florida State investigating if Winston accepted money for autographs.

The Florida State compliance department has begun to look into how a large number of Jameis Winston autographs were authenticated and whether he accepted any money as a result, according to a report on ESPN.com.

A source told ESPN that head coach Jimbo Fisher asked Winston if he ever accepted money for autographs after Saturday's win over Syracuse, and Winston responded that he did not. However, the James Spence Authentication company certified more than 340 autographs from Winston.

"The items that I've seen signed by Todd Gurley and Jameis Winston, which have been authenticated by JSA, look like they came from an autograph signing," Martin Buckley, co-owner of Palm Beach Autographs in Florida told the site. "This is based on the items themselves being similar, the quantities of those items, the consistency of signature as well as similar spots in which they signed."

Gurley was held out by Georgia from the team's game against Missouri based on the possibility he received money in exchange for a large number of signatures. Receiving any compensation for such items would be against NCAA rules surrounding extra benefits for student-athletes.

"Kids sign things all the time," Fisher said after Saturday's game. "So what do you want them to do, stop signing stuff? We could make them not have any fans from that standpoint and not sign for anybody. That's what it's going to come to, and that's a shame for college football, that somebody exploits a kid. Now if they're getting paid for it, then I don't have any knowledge of that. I don't believe Jameis did."

While Fisher has long stood by his quarterback, Winston's status in Tallahassee is already up in the air after reports confirmed he will face a disciplinary hearing in connection to charges he violated the Florida State code of conduct in a matter related to an alleged sexual assault. Winston already missed the team's game against Clemson earlier this year after shouting an expletive in a public space on campus and previously was in hot water for stealing crab legs from a local supermarket.

Winston's draft stock has slipped considerably the past few months because of his off-the-field behavior. As a result, NFL general managers are likely to look at the alleged autograph issue much differently from that of Gurley, given the pattern of incidents Winston has under his belt during his time in college.

Florida State plays Notre Dame this weekend in a matchup of top 10 teams that will feature plenty of questions (again) surrounding the Seminoles star quarterback.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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