Florida State University Quarterback and 2013 Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston is probably pretty annoyed right now. He has had enough problems; FSU and its athletic department are under federal investigation for it’s handling of a rape allegation against Winston in 2012, he was cited for stealing crab legs from a Publix in April, and he was recently suspended a game for shouting a vulgar and offensive phrase at an FSU event, and just recently Winston is being accused of selling his autograph, which is against NCAA rules. It is almost entirely thought of as a stupid rule, but it is a rule nonetheless.
The interesting part is, who is accusing Winston. The only reason this is an issue is because ESPN found that hundreds of Jameis Winston autographs had been authenticated in a row on an authentication website.
Why is this happening to Winston? And why right now? Half of the blame is on Winston; his long list of prior discretions has put him in a situation where he is going to be a lightning rod for scrutiny. The other half of the blame is on the University of Georgia and their star running back Todd Gurley. Gurley was recently suspended indefinitely by UGA for allegedly accepting money for autographs from Bryan Allen, a resident of nearby Villa Rica, Georgia.
There is certainly more evidence against Gurley than Winston. In Gurley’s case, there is an accuser who claims to have video evidence of Gurley signing autographs for money. Plus it is hard to believe that UGA would suspend arguably the best player in college football unless they were legitimately concerned about his eligibility. In Winston’s case, ESPN just reported that there were a lot of authenticated Jameis Winston autographs in a row. It is also hard to believe that evidence would hold up in a full-fledged investigation.
“At this time we have no information indicating that Winston accepted payment for items reported to bear his signature, thereby compromising his athletics eligibility,” an FSU rep said in a statement released on Oct. 17. “The fact that items appear on an Internet site bearing the signature of a student-athlete does not singularly determine a violation of NCAA rules.”
If Winston is not annoyed, you know FSU is. Ever since Winston burst onto the college football scene as a redshirt freshman in 2012 the FSU has had nothing but trouble surrounding the star student-athlete. That is the most realistic reason as to why ESPN is pointing the finger solely at Winston. If there really are players signing autographs for money, it is doubtful that Jameis Winston and Todd Gurley are the only ones doing it.