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Sumlin Not On The Hook For Manziel Autographs

One question I've received a few times since the story broke about Johnny Manziel allegedly signing autographs for money is whether this could impact Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin. Specifically, does the new head coach responsibility bylaw mean Sumlin could be facing his own penalties if his star quarterback is found to be guilty of a violation? Here is the full text of Bylaw, "Responsibility of Head Coach"

An institution's head coach is presumed to be responsible for the actions of all assistant coaches and administrators who report, directly or indirectly, to the head coach. An institution's head coach shall promote an atmosphere of compliance within his or her program and shall monitor the activities of all assistant coaches and administrators involved with the program who report, directly or indirectly, to the coach.

The concept of head coach responsibility is about the head coach being responsible for violations committed by his staff, not his student-athletes. I guess in theory, a student-athlete could fall under this bylaw, if the NCAA determined the athlete was functioning as a staff member (say the athlete was recruiting for the team and the coach knew about it). But in terms of garden-variety amateurism violations, the coach would not be on the hook.

A good example of the difference is the Reggie Bush/USC case. Then-head coach Pete Carroll was not charged with a failure to monitor or failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program. Under the new bylaw, he would have been presumed responsible for the actions of then-assistant coach Todd McNair. But he would not be presumed responsible for the benefits Reggie Bush received from the two would-be agents.

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