Thursday, April 19, 2018
Sports

Johnny Manziel to sit one half of opener as penalty

HOUSTON — Heisman Trophy-winning quarter Johnny Manziel was suspended Wednesday for the first half of Texas A&M's opening game against Rice on Saturday for what the school called an "inadvertent" violation of NCAA rules by signing autographs.

The school issued a statement saying it declared Manziel ineligible and that the NCAA agreed to reinstate Manziel after he sits out the first half against the underdog Owls.

"I am proud of the way both Coach (Kevin) Sumlin and Johnny handled this situation, with integrity and honesty," A&M chancellor John Sharp said. "We all take the Aggie Code of Honor very seriously and there is no evidence that either the university or Johnny violated that code."

The quarterback was being investigated for allegedly accepting thousands of dollars for signing autographs for memorabilia brokers, a violation that could have led to a much longer suspension. NCAA investigators spent several hours with Manziel on Sunday.

According to Wednesday's statement, Texas A&M and the NCAA "confirmed there is no evidence Manziel received money in exchange for autographs based on currently available information and statements by Manziel."

Conditions for reinstatement include Manziel discussing his actions with teammates and A&M revising how it educates athletes about signing autographs.

"If additional information comes to light, the NCAA will review and consider if further action is appropriate," the NCAA said in a statement.

Manziel's lawyer, Jim Darnell, told ESPN he did not believe Manziel violated any NCAA rules, but he accepted the suspension in order to "get Johnny back on the field."

The news had many observers questioning the length of the suspension. Former NFL and MLB star Deion Sanders was incredulous at the brevity of Manziel's suspension, after Dez Bryant was suspended for an entire season while at Oklahoma State after lying about having dinner with Sanders. He wrote on Twitter: "Can we investigate the investigators? (at)DezBryant got suspended a season 4 lying about a dinner that wasnt a violation & Manziel gets a half."

Manziel will be replaced by either junior Matt Joeckel or freshman Kenny Hill.

Clowney hype hits field tonight

COLUMBIA, S.C. — All-American Jadeveon Clowney, the 6-foot-6, 274-pound junior defensive end and presumptive No. 1 pick in the next NFL draft, steps on the field for the first time since the Outback Bowl when he sent the helmet of a Michigan runner flying and turned momentum to the Gamecocks in a 33-28 victory.

The hype hasn't slowed since. Clowney's hit won an ESPY for "Best Play." He has met LeBron James, been linked to rap mogul Jay-Z and is considered a candidate to become the first defense-only player to win the Heisman Trophy.

But first, the Gamecocks face North Carolina tonight. Clowney, coach Steve Spurrier believes, is eager to show his skills on the field instead of hearing about what might happen.

"I think Jadeveon's handled it very well," said Spurrier, whose Gamecocks are 13-1 at home since Clowney arrived in 2011.

North Carolina All-ACC left tackle James Hurst is the first who'll try to slow down the Gamecocks star. "I don't really know if it matters if I'm tired of talking about him because I know it's going to be a big deal," Hurst said.

Hall of fame: Jimmy Johnson, Ty Detmer, Art Monk, Dave Casper, Charles Alexander and Art Shell were among 24 former players and coaches enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The hall has moved from South Bend, Ind., but the new building is under construction and set to open in August 2014. Atlanta hosted its first enshrinement ceremony in a hotel ballroom. Other inductees included Steve Bartkowski, Jonathan Ogden, Phillip Fulmer and R.C. Slocum.

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