Put it this way: It appears the questions surrounding Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s autograph habits have caused other schools to take measures to quash any potential ink issues.
Kansas coach Charlie Weis took special care Tuesday at his weekly news conference to explain the program’s policy on autographs for Saturday’s annual Fan Appreciation Day.
KU players and coaching staff will be available to sign autographs after the practice, but if fans bring any items from home to be signed, those autographs must be personalized. That means the autograph is addressed to a specific person, making it less valuable than a plain autograph.
“Any items that are not Kansas promotional items,” Weis said, “(they) have to be personalized.”
Most years, such a detail would probably be swept aside. But with the NCAA reportedly investigating Manziel over allegations that he accepted money from autograph brokers to sign items and memorabilia in bulk.
By mandating that items be personalized, Kansas can fight back against autograph brokers and secondary markets online. Other schools are taking precautionary measures.
Miami is following similar guidelines this weekend at its annual CanesFest, where players will only be allowed to sign school-sponsored posters. Louisville has reportedly stopped autograph signing at its Cardinals Fan Day, which is Sunday.
“You all know about all the stuff that’s going on, and this is our happy medium,” Weis said. “Promotional items we put out, people can just sign. If somebody brings something on their own, it’ll have to be personalized.
“We’re trying to do the happy middle of the road, to try to appease everything, but still to comply (and) not put us in a precarious situation.”
KU’s Fan Appreciation Day is free and open to the public. Memorial Stadium gates will open at 10:45 a.m. Saturday and a team practice is slated to run from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Weis also said that no cameras would be allowed to be used inside the stadium during practice. Fans, however, can take photos during the autograph session.