Andy Oliver sticks it to the NCAA

An Ohio court reaches the perfectly reasonable conclusion that an NCAA rule which effectively prohibits a 17 year-old kid from responsibly consulting professionals when trying to determine the course of his future violates the law:

In a landmark decision, an Ohio judge today ruled in favor of Oklahoma State lefthander Andrew Oliver in his lawsuit against the NCAA. Erie County judge Tyge Tone ruled that the NCAA cannot restrict a player’s right to have legal help when negotiating a professional contract and ordered Oliver’s eligibility to be reinstated.

Oliver was originally ruled ineligible by Oklahoma State (under NCAA pressure) on the eve of OSU’s 2008 regional opener for violating the NCAA’s “no agent” rule as a high school senior, when the Twins drafted him in the 17th round and his advisors contacted the organization on his behalf.

This ruling should come as no surprise considering that the NCAA is wrong about pretty much everything it does. If the rule in question applied to non-athletes, it would prevent a computer science prodigy from speaking to a career counselor before enrolling on an academic scholarship. I have this feeling that such a thing wouldn’t be tolerated nearly as long as scores of stupid, self-serving NCAA rules have been tolerated, mostly due to the bogus cult of amateurism it fosters and exploits.

In any event, good for the fine courts of the Great State of Ohio for getting this one right. Let’s hope it holds up on appeal.

Mike A. at River Ave. Blues — who kindly shot me a copy of the decision — has a take here. He’s less pleased about this than I am due to what Scott Boras or someone might do now that this rule is gone. I haven’t thought about that aspect too deeply, but it’s not as though Boras hasn’t been in the living room of every top high schooler anyway, so I’m not sure how this changes anything.

Also, check out The Common Man’s take. He believes that the Rule 4 draft may be in peril.

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  1. Pete Toms said...

    I’ve been kinda following this, although I always get bored by the legal minutae (which is no doubt important, but I just don’t understand a lot of it).  I can see how this is potentially important and I do agree that these kids should be allowed legal representation.

    I do question TCM’s assumption that the Rule IV deprives the drafted player of bargaining power.  (If I understand him correctly)  I see this POV often expressed.  The notion that amateur players would reap bigger benefits if they could negotiate with all 30 clubs.  Perhaps that is true for most of the amateur players who enter the pro ranks but I question if that is true for the elite players.  Elite amateurs, i.e. Alvarez, have enormous leverage negotiating with the club that drafts them.  If the club doesn’t sign that player, yes they are compensated in the next draft, but that stunts the organization’s progress and the clubs REALLY need to sign these high picks (high school players have the option of playing college and re-entering the draft)…The inflationary effects (affects?, #### grammar)of the Rule IV (damn it Craig, I still like IV) are often cited as one of the reasons that more players are coming from countries not subject to it (although with Inoa et al this past year…) 

    Anyway, all that to say that these elite amateurs might reap less money if all 30 clubs could negotiate with any and every amateur instead of only the amateurs they draft.

    The Rule IV is an important subject.

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