Posted: 11:36 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013
Throughout the entire autograph-gate saga, Texas A&M;’s silence has been…well, interesting to say the least. Louisville, South Carolina, and Ohio Statepublicly and openly defended their star players against accusations of autograph selling, but Texas A&M; officials remained largely silent (other than an article from March of this year).
That silence came to an end yesterday when Texas A&M; Chancellor John Sharp publicly shared both his support for Johnny and his disdain for Darren Rovell’s reporting tactics in an e-mail to members of the University system. Pertinent content is shared below.
As you are all aware, our Heisman Trophy winning, freshman quarterback has been very popular this summer! I hope you saw that I recently supported him at the opening of the Texas A&M; School of Law in Fort Worth.
While I did confirm that it was a personal view, my motivation was based on the fact we have had ongoing and productive dialogue with the NCAA during their investigation, as required. However, some members of the media have chosen to declare #2 guilty with no evidence whatsoever.
Darren Rovell of ESPN, who broke this story, has been duped before. During his report on Johnny Manziel, he cites unnamed sources who refuse to provide an interview or any tangible proof. In fact, his "named source," Drew Tieman (initially referred to as the broker), was reportedly booked twice for possession of marijuana and placed on four years probation. He has taken down his Facebook page, changed his telephone number and is refusing attempts to be interviewed by the NCAA. It is surprising that the nation's largest sports channel would support publication with this lack of corroboration.
I look forward to the start of this football season and am confident that we'll once again exceed expectations during our second season in the SEC. We should all be very proud of what Coach Sumlin and his staff are accomplishing here in Aggieland.
In order to make sense of Sharp’s confidence, it’s important to know who he is. Sharp is an alumnus of A&M; with a long and illustrious career in Texas politics, having been responsible for the implementation and oversight of such governmental functions as the Texas Lottery Commission, the Texas Tomorrow College Fund, and many others. Sharp is an experienced administrator who, as we’ve seen, isn’t afraid to speak his mind. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that he backed up his earlier comments on Johnny Manziel with a formal statement.
A few quick thoughts:
So I think it’s fair to say that as far as A&M; is concerned, this story is over. We’ve done our due diligence in investigating allegations, and we’ve found nothing to give credibility to the story, and in fact we’ve found so little credible evidence that folks at our highest level are willing to openly question the investigation process in the first place. I’m now 100% convinced that Johnny will start on August 31.