On Sunday, ESPN's Darren Rovell and OTL reported that Johnny Manziel is under NCAA investigation to determine whether the Heisman-winner received money in exchange for hundreds of autographs. Allegations involve Manziel signing memorabilia for autograph broker Drew Tieman in a Miami apartment. In another development Tuesday, ESPN's Joe Schad reported that cell phone videos from a different broker show Manziel autographing more items in an apartment. Neither report involved visual evidence of money being exchanged for the signings.
The following tweet from Rovell made me wonder what information may be out there regarding other college football athletes and bulk signings:
Amazing to see that PSA/DNA, one of the top autograph authenticators, authenticated 999 Manziel autographs in a row.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) August 4, 2013
I decided to look into JSA autograph authentications for Jadeveon Clowney, who may be the second-most famous active college football player. Members of the message board TexAgs.com already noticed that there is a lot of Clowney merchandise available on eBay, and paid subscribers to the premium board there have done some sleuthing into eBay and Amazon listings for both Manziel and Clowney. My research in this involves whether there is evidence that other players have participated in bulk signing sessions.
Often when an item on eBay has been authenticated by JSA, the seller will include a photograph showing a letter, certificate, or sticker with the JSA number. In fact, the first item I looked at after searching for "Clowney JSA" included a card with the JSA Certificate # I57666. I entered the number into the verification search on the JSA website and the resulting description matched the Clowney autographed jersey. To see if there was a consecutive sequence of Clowney items, I started plugging in other nearby numbers. The series of 151 JSA Certificates from I57600 - I57750 contains only Clowney autographed items including jerseys, full-sized helmets, mini-helmets, magazines, and more. Interestingly, the next number in the sequence begins a series of autographed items from South Carolina teammate Marcus Lattimore. Items autographed by Lattimore make up the 119-item sequence from I57751- I57869.
After learning about these sequences, I decided to go back to eBay to look further into the seller (sportsagent2be) who listed the first item I saw. The seller's store has 8 active auctions for JSA Certified Clowney-autographed items in the I57600 - I57750 sequence. Additionally there are 14 completed listings which include items that have sold within the last 90 days and items that didn't sell within the last 30 days. eBay's advanced search does not facilitate a deeper dive into the archives. While browsing the Clowney-autographed items, I also noticed other JSA Certified items that appeared to be part of different sequences.
With this information, I went back to the verification search and discovered a much larger sequence from I65152 - I65409 of 258 consecutive Clowney autographed items. The seller sportsagent2be has active listings for 9 of these items and completed listings for 33.
So from one seller, and the first one I looked at mind you, we have 17 active listings and 47 completed listings in the past 90 days for items autographed by Jadeveon Clowney that appear in large consecutive sequences in the JSA Certificate system.
Update: Bruce Feldman tweeted a link to a Busted Coverage article on Clowney eBay listings and followed up with this:
Asked SoCar SID abt today's Clowney story:"Our compliance folks are aware of it. We haven't had an indication that there's been a violation"— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) August 7, 2013