An East Coast autograph broker told ESPN on Tuesday that Johnny Manziel was paid $7,500 for signing approximately 300 mini- and full-sized helmets on Jan. 11-12 while he was attending the Walter Camp Football Foundation event. The broker played two cell phone videos for ESPN showing Manziel signing white Texas A&M helmets and footballs laid out on a bed in a hotel room. The video does not show Manziel accepting any money. The broker said the room was at The Omni in New Haven, Conn., during the Camp event. He said the signing took place at three different times on Jan. 11-12, totaling about an hour.
The broker and his partner originally requested money to release the videos for use on ESPN, which ESPN declined to pay. The broker did allow ESPN's Joe Schad to view the videos. Later, the broker said he had decided not to sell the videos. The broker said the videos, approximately nine minutes in length in total, were initially shot only to be used as proof with authenticating company PSA/DNA. On the videos, which the broker said were recorded without Manziel's knowledge, ESPN heard Manziel say "you never did a signing with me" and that if the broker were to tell anyone, he would refuse to deal with him again in the future. Manziel, who appeared comfortable throughout the video recordings, also said if asked, he would say he had simply been approached by various autograph seekers.
At one point, ESPN heard a broker ask Manziel if he would take additional cash to sign with special inscriptions, but Manziel declined, indicating he had done that before and it led to questions. The video does not show Manziel accepting cash, which the broker alleges happened three times. The broker told ESPN that Manziel said he wanted money for new rims for his vehicle. The broker said he secured so many autographs from Manziel that not all of them had been listed for sale. He stated some had been sold on eBay and some had been passed on to dealers. He also said that Manziel's friend and personal assistant -- Nate Fitch -- was not present or involved in the alleged transactions. The broker said he does not intend to cooperate with the ongoing NCAA investigation involving Manziel and autographs, originally reported Sunday by "Outside the Lines."
In that report, OTL said the NCAA was looking into Manziel getting paid for signing hundreds of autographs on photos and sports memorabilia around the time of the Discover BCS National Championship Game in Miami. Two sources said they witnessed the signing, but neither saw the actual exchange of money. Three sources told OTL that Manziel signed photographs, footballs, mini football helmets and other items at the request of an autograph broker named Drew Tieman. Two sources, who are aware of the signing arrangement, told OTL that Tieman approached Manziel on Jan. 6, when he landed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to attend the game between Alabama and Notre Dame the next day. After that meeting, three sources said, Manziel, accompanied by Fitch, visited Tieman's residence and signed hundreds of items in the main room of the apartment despite the fact there were many people in the room. Before Manziel left South Florida, after taking in the title game, he signed hundreds of autographs more, one source said.
The source also told OTL that James Garland, the NCAA's assistant director of enforcement, in June contacted Tieman and at least one person associated with the signings. The source said Garland, who did not return calls from "Outside the Lines" for comment, told the person that he wanted to talk about Manziel signing items that had appeared for sale on eBay. An NCAA spokeswoman cited NCAA policy to "Outside the Lines" and declined to comment on Sunday. If the NCAA investigation finds that Manziel has violated NCAA Bylaw 18.104.22.168 -- accepting money for promoting or advertising the commercial sale of a product or service -- he could be ruled ineligible.