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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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Texas A&Ms attendance for the Alabama game was at 108,101 fans ranking it at the third largest game in Kyle Field history.(Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
‘The Mexican 12th Man’
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • May 30, 2024

Growing up in the hills of Monterrey, Mexico, Pedro and Carlos Luna were surrounded by soccer.  Clad in the gold and blue of Tigres UANL,...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Camp begins, questions linger

 
 

In front of a packed room of media representatives, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin on Monday fielded questions before the first football practice of the year, but Johnny Manziel’s off-the-field behavior once again trumped pre-season preparations.
Sumlin faced few football-related questions entering fall practices. The focus was instead on accusations that came to light Sunday alleging that Johnny Manziel took monetary compensation for signing memorabilia.
Sumlin was asked if he was annoyed by so much attention to off-the-field issues on the first day of practice.
“What do you think?” Sumlin said. “You could answer that. It’s the first day of practice and for the first time in my six years of being a head coach, nobody’s asking me about the new guys or the fact that we signed 31 players and all of them are eligible. That probably annoys me more than anything else.”
The ESPN report surfaced Sunday and claimed Manziel signed more than 1,000 items in return for a five-figure sum, though sources say they did not see an exchange of money.
On Monday, Dan Wolken of USA Today reported the same law firm that helped keep Cam Newton eligible in 2010 at Auburn has been hired by A&M to do the same for Manziel.
If the accusations of Manziel taking money in exchange for signed memorabilia are proven true, he could be ruled ineligible by the NCAA or suspended by the team.
Sumlin said he learned of the accusations in the 24 hours preceding the conference and he would not comment until the University and the NCAA provide him with facts.
“That’s a situation that, for me as a coach, that’s happened in a 24-hour period and our University is doing its due diligence to find out the facts,” Sumlin said.
Texas A&M sports information director Alan Canon said while Manziel was originally scheduled to speak at the press conference, he decided with Cannon that it was in his best interest not to attend.
Sumlin said Manziel will be available to the media in the future.
While an investigation looms over him, Sumlin said Manziel will practice with the team as usual.
“He’ll get as many reps as he was going to get yesterday,” Sumlin said. “We’ve got to get a backup quarterback, no matter what.”
Monday afternoon at the team’s first fall practice, Manziel looked loose smiling, joking with coaches and teammates. He appeared back in his natural element, the football fields.
“When Johnny’s with us and we’re on the field, we’re in the film room, he’s focused,” offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney said. “He takes care of business, he wants to win. One of his biggest attributes is he hates to lose more than he wants to win. He hasn’t shown us anything different.”
Sumlin was asked if Manziel would play if an investigation continues through the Aug. 31 season opener or further into the regular season.
“There’s a lot of people involved in that decision,” Sumlin said. “I’m not here to speculate on what could happen or will happen.”
Manziel’s teammates spoke about the news but emphasized the excitement of getting back on the playing field.
“I haven’t spoken to him but, as a team, nothing is different,” said senior running back Ben Malena. “We went out last night for our team function and everything was fine.”
Manziel’s favorite target en route to winning the Heisman Trophy was receiver Mike Evans who said he “didn’t pay any mind” to the Manziel news Sunday.
Senior defensive back Toney Hurd Jr. said the team was ready to get back on the playing field to escape the offseason news.
“I feel like on that field all our worries will be gone,” he said. “We’ll get the music cranked up, Coach Sumlin out there with his shades. I’m sure everybody’s ready to get back to doing what we love doing. We’re ready to do what we love to do.”

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