With Johnny Manziel terrorizing the nation with his latest scandal, colleges around the country are growing paranoid about players signing autographs. Count the University of Georgia among them. According to Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the school is aware that people are trying to make money off of their players’ autographs and are taking steps to prevent anything close to an NCAA violation from occurring:
Georgia coach Mark Richt said the Bulldogs are aware products being peddled using the names of their players. But he said UGA has compliance personnel who are constantly monitoring the sell and trade of autographed merchandise and making sure no bylaws have been compromised.
“We have (players) who are friendly,” Richt said Wednesday afternoon. “If they’re at the grocery store and somebody says they have a picture and asks them if they’d mind signing (it), our guys I’m sure sign it. . . . (But) they know they can’t do anything for money.”
I’m sure Richt is aware that just because the athletes know they aren’t aloud to sell autographs for money, it doesn’t mean they won’t. Otherwise all of these preventative steps would be completely unnecessary.
UGA however, has more cause than most other schools to be extremely careful with these kinds of things. Current Cincinnati Bengals star receiver A.J. Green was involved in a situation extremely similar to Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney’s current one back in 2009 with the college.
Green sold the jersey that he wore in the Liberty Bowl for $1,000 and was suspended from competition by the NCAA for four days.
The school is rightfully getting rid of opportunities for their players to make some cash off of a few drops of ink. The one thing that this is actually bad for is the kids who really want autographs of their favorite college players. Don’t doubt for a second that they aren’t out there–they might not be as common as kids clamoring for professional signatures but there is still a dedicated young following of most major colleges.
What do you guys think about the latest “scandal” going around in college football? Should players be allowed to make money off of their autographs? Does this open up a conversation for student-athletes being paid?