Two days later, Joyce told Andre the details of her trip, and, in her words, the bubble burst. "Those Downtown Athletic people were really nice," she told him. "They bought me a fur coat."
"Who bought you a fur coat?" asked Andre.
"Johnny Rodgers did," she said.
Ware was stunned. Only a few days earlier a Houston athletic department official had told him Rodgers was an agent. Now Ware feared he could be ruled ineligible for his senior season because of the gifts his mother had accepted. Further, he was angry at himself for not having alerted her to such a scam.
"Who would think one Heisman Trophy winner would do such a thing to another Heisman Trophy winner, or that a black man would do this to his own people?" says Joyce. "It happened so fast."
Rudy Davalos, the Houston athletic director, contacted the NCAA and Texas secretary of state George Bayoud Jr. Texas state law prohibits agents from making contact with a player who has college eligibility remaining and requires that agents be registered with the secretary's office. After conducting an 18-day investigation, Bayoud determined that Rodgers and Misle had violated the law, and TEAM America was fined $10,000. Rodgers and Misle admitted their wrongdoing to Bayoud in a signed document, and subsequently TEAM America terminated its association with Rodgers.
"Rodgers embarrassed my mother," says Ware. "He said [at a news conference] that she went to New York with 'two pairs of jeans, a coat up to her elbows and an outfit not even fitting for her to wear.' I won't ever forgive him for that."
Winning the Heisman made Ware an overnight celebrity. From the middle of December through March, he logged more than 35,000 air miles, attended a dozen banquets and made at least 40 speeches. His date book dazzles: meet President Bush at the White House, guest appearance on Bob Hope's Christmas show, introduction to Michael Jordan at a Chicago Bulls game, trip to the Super Bowl with Houston Oiler quarterback Warren Moon, ceremony at Houston's city hall with mayor Kathy Whitmire. "Back in December, I rented a tuxedo, and I haven't had time to take it back," says Ware. "How much do you think the bill will be?"
Ware was gracious and accommodating to the not-so-famous as well. He stood in a smoke-filled banquet hall, right hand on a Bible, while a group of retired New York City policemen swore him in as an honorary cop. Perched in a convertible, with a goofy green hat on his head, Ware presided as grand marshal of the St. Patrick's Day parade in Clear Lake, Texas. In Dickinson (pop. 10,000), 25 miles southeast of Houston, Ware cheerfully accepted a gold key to the city, and then was overcome when the Board of Directors of the Dickinson Water District voted to paint HOME OF ANDRE WARE 1989 HEISMAN TROPHY WINNER on the tallest structure in town, a 160-foot-high water tower on Imite Street.
"I was floating in a dream world," says Ware. "It got to the point where I couldn't remember what day it was or what city I was in. I got home from one banquet and thought I was having a heart attack. I was so exhausted and so sick, I stayed in bed for two days."