The soap opera swirling around Johnny Manziel is adding another sordid chapter.
After an offseason that has been filled with all sorts of twists and turns, the Heisman Trophy winner is being investigated by the NCAA. He may have taken thousands from an autograph broker. He may have committed violations so severe that he may never play another game at Texas A&M.
It's messy and ugly and complicated.
The problem, though, is quite simple — this guy doesn't think rules apply to him.
Before you start ranting and raving about NCAA rules and saying that they're unfair to college athletes like Manziel, let's remember that Manziel agreed to operate under them when he accepted a scholarship to Texas A&M. But even if we take this potential violation of NCAA rules out of the equation — innocent until proven guilty, right? — one thing has become abundantly clear.
Manziel doesn't believe rules are meant for him.
The evidence of that is overwhelming.
Long before these potential NCAA violations came to light, Manziel had already ignored plenty of rules. We don't yet know if he broke any written rules, but he's absolutely guilty of violating unwritten ones.
When you're the quarterback of a high-profile college football team, for example, there are certain expectations. Set an example for your teammates. Have good judgment. Show some maturity. Be a leader.
Wearing a Scooby Doo costume and taking lots of pictures with scantily clad gals during Halloween doesn't really do any of that.
Same goes for continuing to attend high-profile events even when each appearance brings questions about NCAA violations and football focus.
Then, of course, there was the tweet this summer about how he couldn't wait to leave College Station.
For an average 20-year-old college student, all of things that Manziel has done would be fine.
But Manziel isn't an average 20-year-old college student.
This has nothing to do with winning the Heisman either. If he'd never won the little bronze statue, he'd still be expected to act a certain way. He's the quarterback at Texas A&M — a gig he signed up for, by the way — and his team expects him to live up to that lofty position.
Imagine if Landry Jones had done some of the things that Manziel has done while he was at Oklahoma. Or if Brandon Weeden had acted this way at Oklahoma State. Neither won a Heisman, but both were expected to be leaders, and they abided by those unwritten rules.
Manziel has not.
If I'm one of his teammates, I'm furious about it, too.
His actions say the team isn't among his priorities, and these latest accusations only stand to reinforce that perception. If Manziel did what the reports are suggesting — accepting thousands of dollars from to sign memorabilia during a visit to the Miami area for the BCS championship game — he did so knowing he was breaking NCAA rules. Every college athlete knows taking such a payout is a violation. To so blatantly ignore the rules, Manziel was jeopardizing not only his eligibility but also his team's well being.
Then again, he doesn't think the rules apply to him.
Maybe it's because he grew up a child of privilege. His family has oil money, so maybe there was always a way to buy his way out of things.
Or maybe as a high-school football superstar in small town Texas, he got used to getting away with anything.
Who knows why, but clearly, Manziel believes rules are for someone else.
Look at what happened earlier this summer at the Manning Passing Academy. Manziel was invited to be a counselor/coach at the prestigious camp run by the first family of football. Only the best of the best college quarterbacks are asked to participate.
But Manziel was sent home early.
Manziel has disputed reports that he was asked to leave, but Sports Illustrated's NFL guru Peter King, one of the most respected voices in sports media, has reported that Manziel was told it would be best if he went home.
With no explanation, Manziel was late for one coaching session on Friday, then completely no-showed a session on Saturday morning.
Some have said he was hung over, another charge that Manziel disputed, saying that he overslept and couldn't be reached by camp officials because his cellphone died.
But the bottom line is, he didn't leave the Mannings with a great impression. And in case you're wondering, Archie and his sons carry some pretty serious cachet in NFL circles. You suppose Peyton will have many positive things to say if a team calls him about Manziel before the draft? What do you think Eli will say if a team asks whether it should pick Manziel in the first round and make him the face of the franchise?
If you're a young quarterback who hopes to play in the NFL one day, you should probably be on your best behavior when you're around the Mannings.
Another rule that Manziel chose to ignore.
Who knows where all of this is going to lead. My hope is that all of these NCAA allegations are untrue, that Manziel is cleared of any wrongdoing, that he plays every game for the Aggies this season.
College football, after all, is more exciting with Manziel on the field.
But perhaps the only way he's going to realize that the rules do apply to him is if he's held accountable for breaking them.
That may be the only way he'll learn.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.