This story has been developing pretty rapidly today across multiple sports talk mediums, and it could potentially spell disaster for the Florida State Seminoles if something comes of it.
Reportedly, the Florida State administration–on its own accord–has been looking into Jameis Winston’s possible involvement in a situation similar to Todd Gurley’s recent autograph scandal. Following this past weekend’s win against Syracuse, head coach Jimbo Fisher was approached by media personnel and questioned with regards to allegations floating around concerning his quarterback (and a few others rumored to be involved with the same parties as Gurley). He relayed the view that, to his knowledge, Jameis hasn’t signed any autographs for profit.
But, apparently Fisher’s knowledge of the situation comes from first-hand conversation with Jameis, whose track record of troublesome exploits in Tallahassee certainly doesn’t carry with it any kind of sterling credibility.
The fact that Winston’s autographs are being authenticated and sold by the same firm involved in Gurley’s case surely doesn’t bode well for the Seminole faithful, either.
James Spence Authentication certified more than 500 autographs of Gurley, who is being investigated for allegedly taking money for signings.
A cursory search on JSA’s website found more than 340 certified Winston autographs.
FSU has not been contacted on the matter by the ACC or the NCAA, but the university’s compliance department has begun to specifically look into how JSA received such a large number of signatures.
The company’s owner, James Spence, who could not be immediately reached for this story, previously said that a single person, most likely a dealer, submitted hundreds of items signed by Gurley to Spence’s company for authentication.
That’s definitely not what any FSU fan wants to hear right now. Apparently, the types of memorabilia in question that boast Jameis’s signatures aren’t really the easiest to come by, either. As in, not the kinds of things that a kid would walk up to him and get signed on any given Saturday.
JSA authenticates items as it receives them, and attaches the serial numbers in sequential order. JSA authenticated 76 of the exact same Florida State logo footballs in order with serial numbers J65886 through J65962 and 70 of the exact same signed mini helmets in order with serial numbers J66829 through J66896. The company also authenticated 53 jerseys in row (J66947 through J67001), 38 11-by-14 photos (J66026 through J66064), 18 of the exact same footballs (J66919 through J66936) and 11 signed Rawlings baseballs (J66898 through J66911).
“The items that I’ve seen signed by Todd Gurley and Jameis Winston, which have been authenticated by JSA, look like they came from an autograph signing,” said Martin Buckley, co-owner of Palm Beach Autographs in Florida, which has done signings with Heisman Trophy winners Tim Tebow, Herschel Walker and Charlie Ward, among others. “This is based on the items, themselves, being similar, the quantities of those items, the consistency of signature as well as similar spots in which they signed.”
Keywords right there: “same autograph signing.” If Winston is found to be in cahoots with the same crowd that Gurley was running with, well, it would likely cause some major problems for the rest of his season.
While nothing is clear yet, a Florida State-Notre Dame matchup without Winston at the helm seriously challenges the Seminoles’ perfect season. Getting past Clemson without him was one thing, but the Irish team is a whole different beast.
As of now, Jameis hasn’t been reprimanded in any way, but the story is still developing. We’ll be sure to keep you updated if any more information emerges.
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