Johnny Manziel met with NCAA investigators for six hours on Tuesday, and on Wednesday was suspended for the first half of the Texas A&M season opener against Rice.
Immediately, there was a lot of outrage in the sports community because Manziel was clearly given an expedited hearing due to his importance to college football, similar to Cam Newton in the past. The truth is the NCAA had very little evidence, and even the half suspension is probably too much based on what they had.
The outrage makes no sense.
The only reason Manziel’s treatment was preferential is because the normal NCAA process is so screwed up. First, they suspend the player. Then, they figure out if he did anything wrong — all on the NCAA’s schedule. So what happens if you aren’t deemed important enough to warrant fast consideration by the NCAA? Ask DeQuan Jones.
The accusation against Jones was straightforward: “The booster alleges that in the early summer of 2008, he was made aware by assistant coach Jake Morton that a member of Jones’ family required $10,000 to ensure the player’s commitment.”
Based on that accusation and nothing else, the NCAA suspended Jones indefinitely to start the 2011-12 basketball season.
After 10 games, Jones hired an attorney to challenge the NCAA and was promptly reinstated. Basically, the lawyer reminded the NCAA that Jones still existed, because after suspending him, they just didn’t care what happened to him. Jones had the unfortunate distinction of being a basketball player in a program that had made the NCAA tournament once in the last decade (at that point) with very little attention on it. The NCAA was prepared to end his career without investigating, because they just didn’t care about him.
But here is the thing about that accusation made against Jones. It was completely and obviously fabricated. No investigation was even needed. It should have taken 10 seconds to clear him, and once he forced the issue through an attorney, that’s precisely what happened. Why was this accusation so easy to see through? Because Jones signed on November 23rd, 2007. After that point, he was contractually committed to go to the University of Miami. The only way he could have left would’ve been to transfer.
Why then, would an assistant coach make arrangements to pay for a commitment in the summer of 2008 that he had already contractually made several months before? The only thing the NCAA had to do was confirm that the summer of 2008 did in fact come after November of 2007 chronologically, and DeQuan would be cleared to play. I am now going to provide exclusive Page Q evidence that November of 2007 did, in fact, come chronologically before the summer of 2008.
Marked in purple on the graphic, you can clearly see that November 23rd, 2007 did happen before the start of summer on June 20, 2008. Needless to say, DeQuan Jones was not amused with the dichotomy in the treatment he received versus the treatment that Manziel received.
But people should be happy for Manziel. This is the way the process should work. Quickly determine if a violation has occurred, and punish accordingly before any games are impacted unjustly.
Getting upset with Manziel’s treatment is like saying because two people were wrongly accused of murder and one was convicted, we must convict the second one. No, the second person should be acquitted, we should be happy about that, and we should be outraged at the treatment of the wrongly convicted person.
The outrage should be directed not at the NCAA’s treatment of Manziel, but at the NCAA’s treatment of everyone else. Those who aren’t deemed important enough. Those like DeQuan Jones, who was left to rot by a corrupt organization that valued treating him fairly so little that it took them four months and the threat of a lawsuit to look at a calendar.
Vishnu Parasuraman (@vrp2003) is a consultant in the Washington, D.C., Metro Area and an editor of the Sebastian’s Pub blog. His work has also been seen on Grantland. He is a graduate of the University of Miami with an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.