John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, had some kind words to say about Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel while hinting that the NCAA may need to change their stance on allowing athletes to sell autographs.
According to an ESPN report, Manziel has been accused of being paid to sign items for brokers at multiple autograph sessions - a clear violation of NCAA rules that, in Manziel's case, has yet to be substantiated.
In an interview with NBC 5's Chris Van Horne on Thursday, Sharp certainly didn't say the Heisman-winning quarterback is guilty of breaking any rules, but did say the sophomore should be able to profit off of his name if the NCAA and the school are allowed to do so.
"I also think that there’s something, you know this is just me talking not as chancellor of the system, something is wrong with the system when we can make money off of our football players, the NCAA make money off of our football players and they can’t be treated like Olympic athletes," Sharp said.
Sharp went on to say that Olympic athletes at A&M are allowed to sell their signatures, but the rest of the student-athletes involved in NCAA programs can't.
"I suspect, courts or somebody or the NCAA is going to have to take a look at that and see whether or not they’re violating someone’s anti-trust deal. How can the NCAA, for instance, make money off of his jerseys and he can’t, you know, make two bucks off of signing something like that, like other athletes can who happen to be in the Olympics. That’s just my opinion," Sharp said.
Sharp added that Manziel is a good, honest kid and a better kid than he was when he was a sophomore or freshman in college.
"I’ll tell you what’s true, without a doubt, he’s a good kid. He is an honest kid, he has his heart in the right place and I think a whole bunch of folks are mistreating him and I’m not very happy about that," Sharp said.
When asked if he was looking forward to seeing Manziel on the field Aug. 31 when the Aggies kick-off the 2013 season with a game against Rice, Sharp said, “That would be an understatement.”
NBC 5's Chris Van Horne contributed to this story.