(Yahoo!) Florida State’s athletic compliance department is looking into allegations that quarterback Jameis Winston was paid to sign for hundreds of pieces of memorabilia, according to a report by ESPN.com.
ESPN noted that following Saturday’s 38-20 win against Syracuse, Florida state coach Jimbo Fisher asked Winston if he had signed memorabilia for money and Winston told him no.
However, signed Winston memorabilia has been linked to James Spence Authentication, the same autograph authentication business that is involved in the investigation regarding Georgia running back Todd Gurley.
Gurley missed last week’s game against Missouri while the school investigated allegations that he violated NCAA rules by signing autographs for money.
As of late Monday night, ESPN.com reported that there were more than 950 autographs of Winston's in the website's authentication database.
Fisher, however, did not seem worried that what Winston was telling him was false.
"Kids sign things all the time," Fisher said after Saturday's game. "So, what do you want them to do, stop signing stuff? We could make them not have any fans from that standpoint and not sign for anybody. That's what it's going to come to, and that's a shame for college football, that somebody exploits a kid. Now, if they're getting paid for it, then I don't have any knowledge of that. I don't believe Jameis did."
However, Fisher’s theory has some holes in it. As ESPN notes, authenticators attach serial numbers to autographed items in a 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," 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, told ESPN. "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."
Winston is currently awaiting a Student Code of Conduct hearing regarding the sexual assault of a former female student. The informational hearing is scheduled to take place this week; the conduct hearing will be held shortly afterward. Winston is facing four violations of FSU’s student conduct code. Fisher said Monday he did not expect Winston to miss any game time.
Earlier this year, Winston was suspended for the Clemson game after yelling an obscene phrase in the FSU student union.