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NCAA tries — and fails — to save face on Johnny Football investigation

Manziel declared ineligible for the first half of Texas A&M's opener Saturday against Rice.
by Berry Tramel Published: August 28, 2013

Manziel, a humanitarian at heart by his own testimony, gave the NCAA a bone and let A&M suspend him for a meaningless half against the third- or fourth-best football team in Houston.

Why? Why did the NCAA have to settle now? If you don't have evidence for an act you know was committed, why bail? Why not wait? Why not let the case simmer and see what breaks over September, October, November?

Why declare the case over with a slap on the wrist?

Because it benefits the culture of college football. Because the NCAA is not some star chamber that meets inside a vault in Indianapolis. The NCAA is Texas A&M, and Alabama, and Oklahoma, and dozens of other schools that wield the power in the organization.

And while some individual schools — ahem, paging the Texas Longhorns — are most disgusted by Manziel's mayhem, collectively, college football's culture is enhanced if this thing goes away.

The SEC wants it to go away. The television networks want it to go away. CBS does not want to televise the Sept. 14 Bama-A&M showdown with Matt Joeckel quarterbacking the Ags. Most of all, A&M wants it go away, so Aggie chancellor John Sharp can go back to his office in La-La Station, declare what a swell young lad is Master Johnathan and resume counting the millions brought in by A&M's newfound gridiron success.

Investigations are messy. They are wearisome. They are time-consuming.

The beleaguered NCAA, which lost its mind with the ridiculous Penn State penalty and lost its credibility with the never-ending Miami investigation, is ready to move on. Ready to turn its eyes away from Johnny Football's valuable signature and rest its eyes on Johnny Football's valuable quarterbacking.

The Ags play Rice at noon Saturday on ESPN.

Catch him if you can.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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