I appreciate Kate Hairopoulos. I think she does a good job of reporting on A&M athletics for the most part. But recently she posted an article titled "Source: Texas A&M Johnny Manziel nearly transferred before Heisman Trophy winning 2012 Season"
In this article, Hairopoulos cites a "source with knowledge of the situation" and states that the University originally intended to suspend Manziel for the 2012 season following his well-publicized arrest over the summer. The article states that, at that point, Johnny considered transferring, but Dean of Student Life Anne Reber overruled the suspension, leading to Johnny being able to play and have an all-world season.
There are a few things that frustrate me about this article.
- The concept of "unnamed sources" being the driver for a moderately earth shattering article like this is ridiculous. Hairopoulos is basically saying "HEY GUYS YOU NEED TO TRUST ME I KNOW PEOPLE WHO KNOW PEOPLE" and regardless of Hairopoulos’ stellar journalistic record, her inability to name the person who told her the information leads the information itself to be suspect at best. The worst part is that her information is then used as gospel for other articles.
- The article is unable to be verified. There’s a federal law called FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) which protects the privacy of student educational records. In essence, students own their records, and only those with a vested interest in the student’s academic progress can access those records. Meaning that there’s no way to verify whether Haritopoulos’s information is correct because none of us meet that criteria (also means that the person who fed her the information could have been violating federal law—anyhoo). So without seeing the official documentation (of which there HAS to be some), we have no idea whether the information presented in the article is actually correct. There’s a reason that our folks couldn’t comment on the situation…because they are legally bound by FERPA.
- The university does not simply hand out dismissals. If you take a look at the university student rules, students who violate rules are typically allowed a hearing of sorts—and they’d especially be allowed a hearing if the punishment was going to result in dismissal. The results of that hearing are then appeal-able, and that appeals process goes through Dr. Anne Reber.
But let’s dive deeper into that. I was able to find information on the University Rule Violation Frequency Count— meaning how many students broke particular rules (available here: https://studentlife.tamu.edu/sites/studentlife.tamu.edu/files/Student%20Rule%20Violations%20Fall%202012.pdf). Johnny was charged (if I remember correctly) with fighting, providing false documents, and let’s throw in an alcohol charge just to be thorough. Below are the number of students who had similar violations
Disorderly Conduct: 15
Furnishing False Information/Withholding Information:32
I don’t know how much overlap there is between those three categories, but I can’t imagine that Johnny was the only one. So you’re trying to tell me that the university is in the business of dismissing every student with an overlap of those three things? Is that what your unnamed source is saying?
I’m not buying it. And neither should you. Also, WHY IN THE HELL WOULD THE UNIVERSITY ONLY CONSIDER SUSPENDING HIM FOR THE 2012 SEASON? NOT THE SEMESTER, NOT THE YEAR, THE SEASON. HOW DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL?!!??!
So here’s what I’m imagining happened. As a result of his indiscretions, Johnny was placed on conduct probation, which would have impacted his ability to represent the university athletically (as stated by the student rules). The conduct probation was then likely overruled by Dr. Anne Reber and Johnny Manziel became Johnny Football.
But here’s another thing that doesn’t make sense. Brent Zwerneman states the following:
"Manziel was preparing to transfer to a junior college to play immediately when the suspension was overturned on appeal midway through training camp – and the next day he was named the starting quarterback over Jameill Showers, who intends to play at UTEP this fall."
What does "preparing to transfer" mean? Had he picked out a school? Well then that school should be available for comment shouldn’t they? We should be able to verify that information right? And what school would he be able to transfer to in the middle of August and be ready to play by Sept 1? And why would Sumlin have an open competition, and be very vocal to the media that the spot was up for grabs, all while not knowing whether one of his QBs was EVEN GOING TO BE ON CAMPUS?
Johnny was named starter on August 15, a Wednesday. So his week supposedly looked like this:
Monday: Gotta transfer. Sad.
Tuesday: WOO GET TO PLAY FOOTBALL. AT A&M
Wednesday: WOO GET TO START AT A&M
I’m not buying it. It just doesn’t pass the smell test.
I posit that this article is just piggybacking off the "ZOMG JOHNNY HATES A&M L" hysteria going on right now. I’m sure there are kernels of truth in there, but the tone and voice of the article do nothing more than to add fuel to the fire. Johnny won the Heisman trophy. I have a hard time believing that with all of the media surrounding him, and focusing on his background during the months of November and December no one, not one single person, would have let this information slip.
SENSE. THIS MAKES NONE.