SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

August 17, 2013

Column: Players' troubles illustrate college football's true priorities

The 2013 college football season promises to be a wild and wacky ride. No surprise there, except two major developments have come before the players even put on their pads and started scrimmaging.

It’s hard to say anything is shocking when it comes to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, after the summer he enjoyed. But a report from ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that Johnny Football accepted thousands of dollars for signing autographs has got to have Aggie fans mighty nervous. If true, and that’s yet to be determined, Manziel would be facing a major NCAA violation that could lead to a suspension ranging from a few games to an entire season. An A&M official quoted Manziel as saying he’d done nothing wrong. That’s expected, but what does it say when the university then turns around and hires a high-powered legal team?

The other story that is shaking things up and creating a buzz of its own is the University of Louisville’s decision to offer a scholarship to Michael Dyer – a former big-time running back at Auburn who has seen his name remain in the headlines the past 18 months or so, but for all the wrong reasons. Dyer is not another good back. He’s a game-changer. He had two 1,000-yard rushing seasons and was the 2011 BCS Championship Game’s MVP, beating out some guy named Cam Newton. But that’s when things turned sour. He left Auburn after failing a drug test and a few months later was pulled over for speeding, where a check of his car found drugs and a gun. It didn’t get much better at Arkansas State, where problems persisted and he moved along without playing a down. Dyer showed signs of improvement at Arkansas Baptist, where he picked up an associate’s degree.

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