Since winning the Heisman Trophy, it seems like Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel cannot do anything without being accused of violating some NCAA rule or another. Most of these claims amount to nothing or are based on assumptions, like if a student-athlete is sitting in courtside seats, he must have gotten some impermissible benefit.
But this story about Manziel’s grandparents’s diner has enough smoke in it that Texas A&M’s compliance office needs to at least take a look and probably give the SEC and NCAA a call. The grandparent’s restaurant is now covered in Johnny Football memorabilia from the standard (framed newspapers) to the cute (Little League and pee-wee football photos) to the bizarre (original oil painting from a patron).
Manziel’s grandparents admit it has made an impact:
“Our business was good before this started. But we’re getting a lot of new faces in here these days,” said Jerry Loggins, who plans to join other family members in watching the Cotton Bowl from a suite at Cowboys Stadium. “People hear about the A&M and Johnny memorabilia and they want to see it. It’s really helped business.”
A business displaying student-athlete memorabilia is a fine line. But Alabama eventually sent a cease and desist letter to T-Town Menswear regarding their display of memorabilia from Alabama football players. Manziel and his family are just as prohibited from using Manziel’s likeness and memorabilia to promote a business.
Like the T-Town Menswear “scandal” (used loosely), the most Texas A&M would need to do is send the diner a cease and desist. And the most the diner would need to do is take down the memorabilia. Manziel’s eligibility is unlikely to be affected. So even though this is an actual NCAA issue, it is still no big deal.