A sports memorabilia authentication company has certified over 900 autographed sports items by Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston. However, according to FSU coach Jimbo Fisher, Winston denied that he received any money for the autographs.
Fisher says that he is not worried that James Spence Authentication (JSA), which was involved with suspended Georgia running back Todd Gurley, may be involved with Winston and believes that Winston is telling the truth.
Meanwhile, the university’s compliance department has begun investigating how JSA received such a large number of signatures from the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
ESPN reported that James Spence, founder of JSA, said that he is “very confident” about the authenticity of the autographs and that the sports items were indeed signed by Winston. Moreover, he considered it unlikely that the FSU quarterback would have been signing the memorabilia for fans.
Coach Fisher had a different take on the signings incident. “Kids sign things all the time,” Fisher said after Saturday’s 38-20 win over Syracuse. “So what do you want them to do, stop signing stuff? We could make them not have any fans from that stand point 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.”
ESPN reported that JSA authenticates items using serial numbers in sequential order. For instance, with the Winston signed jerseys, JSA authenticated serial numbers J62424 through J62659 and serial numbers J72790 through J72992. Other items such as photos, footballs and mini-helmets were likewise signed.
Martin Buckley, of Palm Beach Autographs in Florida, which has done signings with Tim Tebow, Herschel Walker, and Charlie Ward, said that it appears that the authenticated Winston signings come from an autograph signing. “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,” he said.
All of this comes as bad news for Winston and FSU. The gifted quarterback already faces a school disciplinary hearing in an alleged sexual assault in December 2012. Last week he was notified that the judge presiding over the hearing will be one of three former Florida Supreme Court justices.