Say what you want about the goofy penalty revealed Wednesday (the first half of the season opener, even though the NCAA acknowledged Manziel received no money), the NCAA managed to decide the case quickly. This won’t hang over the Aggies all season long.
And that’s the most frustrating part about the whole matter – the NCAA can move fast, if it wants to. And it sometimes doesn’t seem to want to.
Auburn didn’t get the same consideration in 2010 when Cam Newton was under a cloud of suspicion regarding allegations his family received money during his recruitment. Certainly, that was a more complicated case than Manziel’s, but the NCAA didn’t close the matter until after Newton’s fifth game … of his rookie season with the NFL Carolina Panthers.
Auburn declared Newton ineligible before the 2010 SEC Championship Game, and the NCAA restored his eligibility fewer than 24 hours later. But it wasn’t a guarantee against sanctions down the road, including forfeits of any victories in which Newton played.
That whole time, Auburn played with the understanding the NCAA could take away those 14 memorable wins after the fact.
If the NCAA enforcement staff wants schools and athletes to cooperate fully with an investigation, then schools and athletes deserve a quick process. After all, it’s not like they can go back and play those games if the NCAA decides later there were no violations.
Contact Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.