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Texas A&M celebrates Manziel's Heisman win

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Texas A&M celebrates Manziel's Heisman win

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Texas A&M had one last party in it - at least for now - to celebrate freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel's Heisman Trophy.

A few thousand Aggies, primarily current students, gathered around the steps at Memorial Student Center on Wednesday night to mainly welcome back Manziel, although his teammates were recognized as well during the ``Celebrating the 12th Man'' event.

``What an honor it is to represent you guys throughout the country this past week,'' Manziel said to roars from the crowd on a clear, cool evening in Aggieland. ``We were in the Big Apple on some of the biggest stages in the entire world and really let people know what the 12th Man is all about.''

Manziel, who redshirted last season under a different coaching staff, became the first freshman to win the Heisman, which celebrated its 78th year Saturday night in New York.

``Thank you guys for all of the support you've given us this year,'' said Manziel, who flourished under first-year coach Kevin Sumlin. ``You've really pushed us hard and we couldn't have done this without you. You're the best student body in the country and I love each and every one of y'all.''

Manziel hoisted the trophy in the air following a short speech. A&M junior offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, the first Aggie to win the Outland Award, given to the nation's top interior offensive lineman, also addressed the gathering.

``These are the best fans in the entire country, whether it's college football, the NFL, basketball ... whatever it is, y'all are the best fans,'' Joeckel said. ``What an honor it is to represent y'all in Kyle Field every Saturday.''

A&M President R. Bowen Loftin, the primary catalyst behind the university's move from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference this season, said Manziel's leadership has been a joy to watch during the Aggies' 10-2 season.

``Leadership is a tough thing,'' Loftin said. ``It takes two things in place to make it work. First of all, the team you lead has to believe in you, and you also have to believe in them. That sums it up for Johnny Manziel.

``Johnny led this team, but they also respected him and followed him, and that combination did what no one thought we could do.''

The Aggies, winners of five straight to close out the regular season, toppled then-top-ranked Alabama 29-24 on Nov. 10 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and also won all four of their SEC road games in their first season in the powerful league. Their two losses were by a combined eight points to Florida and LSU at Kyle Field.

``What a great week this has been, and what a great season this has been for Aggieland,'' said Richard Box, A&M's board of regents chairman. ``How sweet it is. We heard a lot of trash talk around the country saying A&M wasn't going to be able to compete, and it may take three or four years before we get there. Well, we're there.''

A&M will play 10-2 Oklahoma, a former Big 12 opponent, on Jan. 4 in the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: What the Ramon Sessions signing means for Tomas Satoransky

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Associated Press

Wizards Tipoff podcast: What the Ramon Sessions signing means for Tomas Satoransky

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller offered their reaction to the Ramon Sessions signing and how it could affect Tomas Satoransky. Plus, how the Wizards match up with the new-look Cavs and how Kelly Oubre, Jr. broke out of his slump.

Chase also explained his epic fail with an Oubre interview and they revisited an Instagram post from months ago that foreshadowed much that has gone down this season.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

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USA Today Sports Images

Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

The world of college basketball has been on high alert since last fall when reports first surfaced of a long-term FBI investigation into the worst-kept secret in sports: college athletes being paid to play.

News surrounding the scandal died down after the inital wave of arrests, but Yahoo! Sports released a warning of sorts recently and followed it up on Friday by naming players (both past and present) for the first time. There were dozens of programs and players implicated, including Maryland's Diamond Stone.

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon released the following statement Friday afternoon.

"Late last night we were alerted of a report associating one of our former student-athletes with an agent. We are extremely disappointed, and we will fully cooperate with any investigation. I do not have a relationship with Andy Miller or anyone from his agency, and at no time have I ever had a conversation with Andy Miller or his agency regarding any Maryland basketball player. We remain steadfast in upholding a program of integrity that reflects the values of our University community."

Stone played for the Terps during the 2015-16 season, after which he left for the NBA. That Terps team was highly-ranked entering the season but ended up losing in the Sweet 16 to top-seeded Kansas.

RELATED: DIAMOND STONE ADMITS TO 'MISTAKES' DURING FRESHMAN YEAR AT MARYLAND

Andy Miller is the agent whose financial records were used to implicate so many players in the Yahoo! Sports report. It's no surprise that Turgeon would deny having a relationship with Miller regarding any of his players, but the question remains: What does this mean for Maryland basketball?

You can be sure that Turgeon will be meeting with both past and current assistant coaches Friday to confirm they have not had any involvement with Andy Miller. He'll also certainly be meeting with higher-ups at Maryland, as they try to cover their bases. 

That said, it seems unlikely Maryland would take an action as drastic as firing Turgeon over these allegations. There has been no evidence released so far that implies Turgeon had any knowledge of Stone's actions. Barring further information coming to light, it seems as though this is a case of Stone developing a relationship with Miller's agency separately from Maryland.

Some of the more vocal members of Maryland's fan base would like to think Turgeon is on the hot seat. The truth is, given his long-term contract and the current state of Maryland's finances, it's not currently feasible to fire him and expect to afford a more accomplished coach. Though if further reports indicate Turgeon was complicit, then all bets are off.

It remains possible the NCAA will impose punishments on the schools involved with this scandal, in the form of reduced scholarships, postseason bans, or worse. But that's likely off the table until further evidence comes out regarding how much schools and coaches actually knew. It is a near-certainty that some schools were in cahoots with Miller and other agents; the problem is identifying which schools were intentionally breaking the rules, and which were simply unaware. Ultimately, however, some degree of responsibility falls on the head coach.

For now, the biggest worry on the minds of Maryland fans should be vacated wins. If Diamond Stone was ineligible, then it's possible the victories Maryland recorded during the 2015-16 season will be erased from the record books. Unfortunately, this could include their run to the Sweet 16, which was the program's first in more than a decade.

Given the expectations surrounding the team during Stone's year in College Park, his tenure could already be considered a disappointment. Losing those wins would further dampen the memories fans have from that season.

On the bright side, at least the Terps didn't have a Final Four run to lose.