Texas A&M Is Already Taking Advantage of Johnny Manziel's Heisman

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterDecember 10, 2012

Conference expansion, cable television networks and even smaller items like four-year scholarships indicate that college football isn't just a game anymore, it's big business.

Texas A&M's business model just got a major boost.

According to ESPN.com, the Aggies have launched a major marketing campaign surrounding Johnny Manziel's Heisman Trophy.

Manziel became the first redshirt freshman and first Texas A&M player since John David Crow in 1957 to win the award, when he beat out Notre Dame's Manti Te'o and Kansas State's Collin Klein on Saturday night.

The campaign kicked off during Manziel's acceptance speech inside the Best Buy Theater on Saturday night, and will feature a billboard in Times Square, full-page ads in the New York Times, USA Today, several newspapers in other major media markets and online.

In other words, Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel are well on their way to becoming national brands.

Robert Griffin III's Heisman Trophy was worth $250 million to Baylor last season, according to ESPN.com. It looks like A&M paid attention. With the power of the SEC behind it, the Aggies should be in that range as well before all is said and done.

But as with any student-athlete, A&M better tread lightly.

Manziel's family is currently working to trademark the "Johnny Football" nickname, and the NCAA prohibits use of Manziel's image for profit.

You can make the argument that college athletes should be paid, and that certainly will be a hot-button issue surrounding Manziel throughout his college career.

But rules are rules, and everyone knew the rules beforehand. It was hard to predict this particular situation from happening though.

Yes, you can say that A&M—and all college football programs—take advantage of players. But had it not been for Texas A&M, the Manziels may not be currently sitting on the "Johnny Football" goldmine. 

Just another day on Wall Street. Or, in this case, Times Square.