Johnny Manziel cannot profit directly from playing college football. But NCAA rules may let him profit indirectly. Manziel set up a corporation, JMAN2 Enterprises, which filed paperwork to trademark “Johnny Football.” The corporation cannot profit until Manziel leaves Texas A&M. It can, however, sue for damages to protect its trademark. The corporation is doing just that, to a guy selling “Keep Calm and Johnny Football” t-shirts.
It’s not clear how much Manziel is losing/lost by not being able to profit from the trademark. Given the estimate that his Heisman run generated an estimated $37 million in media exposure for Texas A&M, we would suggest it is quite a bit. ESPN, CBS and others will enjoy the fruits of his unpaid labor next season.