Manziel family hires lawyer with NCAA experience


Johnny Manziel‘s school has already lawyered up with individuals well-versed in the NCAA process.  Thursday, Manziel and his relatives have taken the same tack.

In a statement attributed to the family, the Manziels announced that they have hired El Paso, Tex., attorney Jim Darnell to represent their interests.  Darnell, who represented the Baylor men’s basketball program in the early 2000s along with former USC men’s basketball coach Tim Floyd, will represent Johnny Football’s interests specifically and his family’s in general.

In accordance with NCAA guidelines, neither the player nor his relatives will have any further comment.

The move to retain counsel comes a couple of days after Texas A&M retained the services of Lightfoot, Franklin and White, a Birmingham law firm who represented Auburn during the Cam Newton imbroglio.

Sunday, it was reported that the Heisman-winning A&M quarterback was linked to a handful of autograph brokers, some of whom alleged that Manziel received payment in exchange for his signature.  If it’s found that Manziel received payment for his Herbie Hancocks, he would be subject to NCAA sanctions and his availability for all or part of the 2013 season — expected to be his final in College Station — would be in doubt.

UPDATED 6:54 p.m. ET: In a brief interview with George Schroeder of USA Today, Darnell said his client, Manziel, is cooperating with the NCAA’s investigation.  As for his client’s football future, Darnell predicted that “when all this comes out on the other end, he’ll be the starting quarterback for the Aggies against Rice.”

A&M opens the 2013 season Aug. 31 in College Station against the Owls.

Former Navy coach Niumatalolo joins UCLA staff

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LOS ANGELES – Former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo is joining UCLA’s coaching staff as director of leadership.

The school said in an announcement Friday that Niumatalolo will serve as an advisor to the Bruins’ football staff and players.

Niumatalolo led Navy for 15 years and was the winningest coach in school history at 109-83. The Midshipmen, however, finished with losing records the past three seasons, including 4-8 the past two.

Navy played in 10 bowl games under Niumatalolo. He also was the only coach to win his first eight games in the storied Army-Navy rivalry.

Troy, Jon Sumrall agree to new 4-year contract through 2026

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TROY, Ala. ⁠— Jon Sumrall agreed to a new four-year contract as Troy’s coach after leading the Trojans to a Sun Belt Conference championship and national ranking in his debut season.

The school announced the deal, which runs through 2026, but didn’t release details.

The Trojans went 12-2 and won their final 11 games, second only to national champion Georgia, including the league championship game and the Cure Bowl against UTSA. For the first time, they finished a season ranked, ending up 19th in The Associated Press Top 25.

“When we appointed Coach Sumrall in December 2021, we challenged him to return Troy football to the top of the Sun Belt Conference,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said. “It didn’t take long, as the 2022 season was the best in our FBS history.”

Troy held all 14 of its opponents to under their season average in scoring, beating UTSA 18-12. The Trojans beat Coastal Carolina 45-26 in the Sun Belt title game.

“Last year was an amazing accomplishment for everyone associated with Troy football and was the product of relentless effort from our players and staff, athletic administration and university leaders,” Sumrall said.