Autograph dealers in Johnny Manziel case could be in trouble

Perhaps Johnny Manziel isn't the only person in hot water over the alleged autograph-signing sessions that were paid for by memorabilia dealers.

Turns out, the dealers themselves may have some legal explaining to do.

Attorney Christian Dennie wrote about an interesting tie between the memorabilia dealers who allegedly paid Manziel, and an obscure Texas law that could spark legal action against them for doing so. That law, part of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, states that "a person who violates a rule of a national collegiate athletic association adopted by this chapter is liable for damages in an action brought by an institution. ..."

The passage goes on to stipulate that the violation must result in disciplinary action, and that the person must know or reasonably should know that a rule was violated. So how could Texas law apply if the rules violations occurred in South Florida?

Good question. And Dennie had quite the answer.

"It's hard to say without knowing jurisdictional facts, but there could be facts that would bring those dealers into Texas legally," Dennie told Draft 365. "Did they meet with him in Texas? Was an agreement reached in Texas? There are a lot of different wrinkles to jurisdiction."

Dennie said if a dealer engaged in hand-to-hand sales of Manziel-signed items in Texas rather than online, that could trigger jurisdiction as well. Laws on internet commerce, however, are "still developing," Dennie said. "In some cases, emails are enough. Or a certain percentage of sales in a certain state."

Not every alleged signing session by Manziel would necessarily need a jurisdictional loophole, however. Remember, one of the alleged autograph sessions happened in Houston.

However far away penalties for Texas A&M or Manziel may be, civil litigation against autograph dealers is even further off. But you can bet if Texas A&M loses its starting quarterback, the Aggies may look to roll the pain downhill.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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