Gazzolo Column: Manziel has become the Lindsay Lohan of college football

By By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

How much is an autograph worth.

Questions continue to swirl around college football’s former prince who transformed into a frog this offseason.

Did Johnny Manziel get paid to put his name on some items?

Those swipes of his pen could prove costly for Texas A&M, but not likely Manziel.

If the NCAA finds out he took the cash, then Manziel might be suspended for a game, a season or the rest of his college career,

which is really down to just this season anyway.

Instead of playing for free on Saturdays, Manziel will just move to the real pay-for-play of pro sports on Sundays.

That seems simple enough. He will keep any money he made, if any, so he won’t be hurt by this.

If the NCAA can’t find the smoking pen, then Manziel spends one last season running around the SEC, trying to hang on to that

Heisman Trophy he won last year.

Seems like a win for the league, a win

for the NCAA, which can continue to make money off Johnny Football even

if Johnny Football

can’t, and a win for Texas A&M.

Oh yes, and a win for all those who are partners with such parties as the SEC and NCAA. Of course we are talking television.

The eyes on Manziel will be more numerous than ever before. Some will want to see him succeed, others fail.

He has become the Lindsay Lohan of college football, perfect can’t-miss-a-down television.

Americans are famous for watching car crashes (see NASCAR) and celebrities falling off their high horse.

Manziel is just the latest.

But the real losers could be those who paid all that money to watch Manziel play if he is told to hit the showers early.

You have to wonder if any of those good ole boys who root on the Aggies and paid top dollar for season tickets won’t be just

a bit upset their investment was sent packing.

People in Texas already believe they are above the law, so being above the NCAA really comes as no surprise.

This is the state that has seen a good portion of its big college football programs on some type of probation at one time

or another. It is also the only one to give us a death penalty when SMU was tagged with that honor back in the 1980s.

If the boosters were O.K. with giving

out cars, jobs and cash to players, what’s a little bit of change for a

kid’s John Hancock?

In Texas, that is no harm and no foul.

The NCAA sees it differently. Of

course, they continue to sell Texas A&M jerseys, and just about

every other member’s uniforms

and pocket their portion of the proceeds.

And places like LSU and Notre Dame haven’t pulled any shirts off their shelves either.

I also noticed that once again college coaches, the role models to these student/athletes, are still peddling their talents

for a nice hunk of change. And most of them seem to still be willing to take a check for their television and radio shows.

You do have to wonder, if the coaches can make money off what their players do on the field, shouldn’t those very same players

get at least something?

It would seem to make sense.

Now, I’m not for paying players but when they become celebrities, well that is their face getting all the attention.

Maybe their signature should be worth at least some chump change.

For some, Manziel’s name might prove too expensive.

As for the Aggie faithful, it might also mean mud before this fall even begins.

• • •

Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at