In what may be the most damning report yet for folks who want to see Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston out of college football forever, ESPN reporter Darren Rovell published an article Tuesday morning to reveal his findings on the well-publicized autograph controversy surrounding the redshirt sophomore.
The piece, which uses information collected by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” states that memorabilia allegedly autographed by Winston for compensation was rejected by one authentication company because they didn’t believe the items were legitimate. The report went on to say the autograph authentication company, PSA/DNA, couldn’t even prove that the items were actually autographed by Winston.
So if you purchased an item autographed by Jameis Winston that was authenticated by James Spence Authentication, you might not actually have Jameis Winston’s autograph.
The news comes a month after Rovell linked Winston’s signatures to JSA, and shortly after Georgia running back Todd Gurley was suspended four games for being compensated for his autograph. But, as many people have said before me, the difference was that Gurley was specifically named by a former store owner who paid for Gurley to sign memorabilia, forcing the NCAA to investigate the matter.
As Tomahawk Nation recapped Tuesday morning: “Still no allegation from anyone with knowledge that Jameis Winston was paid for autographs; still nobody who has come forward stating that they personally witnessed Winston performing a mass signing; and now, serious questions about whether the signatures are even legit.”
Florida State released a statement on Oct. 17, as rumors from Rovell and elsewhere were swirling, to address the matter:
Our Athletics Department compliance staff is reviewing issues raised by the media related to autographed items attributed to Jameis Winston. At this time we have no information indicating that he accepted payment for items reported to bear his signature, thereby compromising his athletics eligibility. The fact that items appear on an Internet site bearing the signature of a student-athlete does not singularly determine a violation of NCAA rules.
We have kept both the conference office and the NCAA apprised of our efforts on this matter. The University takes very seriously any and all allegations of potential rules violations and processes them in accordance with ACC and NCAA policies and procedures.
During their own investigation, FSU found no proof Winston was paid for his autograph. Winston is well-known to sign hundreds of autographs before and after nearly every FSU Baseball game, home and away.
Winston has played every game since the initial report was posted, and he has a 23-0 record as starting quarterback of the Seminoles.