For now, Jameis Winston-autographed memorabilia available for sale online won't keep the Florida State star quarterback off the field for the Seminoles. That's the bottom line of a release from FSU athletic director Stan Wilcox Friday, which addressed the school's investigation into whether Winston accepted payment for his signature in violation of NCAA rules.
"Our Athletics Department compliance staff is reviewing issues raised by the media related to autographed items attributed to Jameis Winston. At this time we have no information indicating that he accepted payment for items reported to bear his signature, thereby compromising his athletics eligibility. The fact that items appear on an Internet site bearing the signature of a student-athlete does not singularly determine a violation of NCAA rules. We have kept both the conference office and the NCAA apprised of our efforts on this matter. The University takes very seriously any and all allegations of potential rules violations and processes them in accordance with ACC and NCAA policies and procedures."
Translation: A slew of Winston-signed items, even sequentially-authenticated by the same company (James Spence Authentication) that authenticated the Todd Gurley items that have the Georgia running back suspended, doesn't by itself raise enough of a concern to pull Winston off the field for Saturday's crucial home game against Notre Dame.
Gurley is alleged to have accepted $400 for his signature; no such allegation has been brought against Winston. And without any evidence that Winston did so, the Heisman Trophy winner will play on. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said earlier this week that he asked Winston about the matter, and Winston assured him he had not been paid for his autograph. Based on Wilcox's statement, however, it would appear that the school's investigation into the matter is not yet closed. The discovery of any new information, then, could potentially put Winston on the sideline at some point later in the season.
The Fighting Irish, however, won't be so lucky.