Texas A&M has no plans to bench quarterback Johnny Manziel for their season opener on Aug. 31 against Rice. Despite an NCAA investigation into Manziel's eligibility related to autograph signings, a high-ranking Texas A&M official told an industry source that the school is confident that the Heisman Trophy winner will be cleared of any wrongdoing, according to CBSSports.com. The NCAA is trying to find out if Manziel was paid for signing autographs. As the investigation is ongoing, Manziel has practiced as usual. Texas A&M compliance director David Batson would not comment on Manziel's status. When asked if Manziel has interviewed by the NCAA, senior associate athletic director of external affairs Jason Cook said: "Texas A&M will not address such questions regarding specific student-athletes." However, chancellor Jon Sharp told KBTX-TV Friday that he supports Manziel. "I know he's innocent," Sharp said. Manziel's attorney, Jim Darnell, told CBSSports.com Friday that the family is "tired of all of this" but the quarterback has been "playing football and doing what he's supposed to do." Darnell also said that Nate Fitch, Manziel's friend/personal assistant, who reportedly attended some of Manziel's signings, has hired an attorney. However, Fitch and the autograph brokers who reportedly worked with Manziel are not required to cooperate with the NCAA. Manziel is required to meet with the NCAA if requested. Texas A&M could be penalized if the NCAA proves that Manziel accepted money. Texas A&M is also bracing for Sept. 14 when the Aggies take on Alabama.
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