The fallout from the Johnny Manziel autograph allegations prompted Louisville and Miami to announce changes to their signing policies Monday.
At Miami’s annual CanesFest on Saturday, the Hurricanes will be signing only school-issued posters and nothing else. And when Louisville has its Fan Day on Sunday, players won’t be permitted to sign anything in response to what Cardinals coach Charlie Strong called “a national problem.”
Both schools said the moves are being made because of ongoing concerns about college athletes and autograph sales, and neither mentioned Manziel by name. ESPN reported earlier this month that Manziel, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is being investigated by the NCAA amid allegations that he took money in exchange for signing memorabilia.
If true, Manziel’s eligibility and Heisman standing would both be jeopardized.
“We have monitored the situation closely, and we decided to protect the eligibility of our players and operate under the principle that it not permissible to accept any type of compensation for their autograph or the sale of memorabilia,” Strong said in a statement released through the school. “I know this will disappoint a lot of our fans, especially the young children who look up to our players, but I strongly feel this is the best decision for our football program.”
Other schools, including South Carolina and Ohio State, have acknowledged in recent days that they have looked into whether some of their star players — such as Jadeveon Clowney for the Gamecocks and the Buckeyes’ Braxton Miller — broke any NCAA rules by signing memorabilia that others are selling on eBay and in other manners.
Miami’s decision to limit player signings to posters that the school will distribute — one per fan who shows up Saturday — would figure to at least slow down anyone who planned to attend CanesFest solely to get autographs for resale. Miami fans have brought items such as photos, shirts, footballs and helmets for players to sign at past events like CanesFest.
“As part of the University of Miami’s commitment to NCAA compliance and in light of recent national news, student-athletes will only sign the” poster that will be handed out, the Hurricanes said in a statement.
Strong said he’s offering fans something else instead of autographs: Sunday’s planned full-pads practice will be open to spectators.