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Thursday, February 12, 2009
Court Blows Fastball Down NCAA Pipe

In a long awaited decision, an Ohio state court has ruled in favor of Oklahoma State University star pitcher Andrew Oliver. You might recall, Oliver was suspended by OSU before a critical college tournament game after news emerged that years before he had met with Minnesota Twins representatives with his attorneys while contemplating whether to retain his amateur status and attend college or turn pro after high school. NCAA Bylaw 12.3.2 allows amateurs to retain attorneys or advisors while considering such options as long as such professionals are not present at any meetings with professional clubs.

Oliver challenged his suspension in the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Ohio, arguing among other things, that such a rule interfered with his attorney client relationship and was against public policy, kind words for a rule that is emblematic of NCAA hypocrisy and arrogance. The NCAA presumably wanted 18 year olds and their families to have to deal with professional clubs without professional help, thus limiting the ability to choose the best option between turning pro and remaining ineligible until the athlete’s junior year. Oliver also challenged his suspension under Bylaw 19.7, which essentially allows the NCAA to punish member schools if they do not immediately suspend an athlete the NCAA finds has violated one of its sacred By Laws.

Judge Tygh M. Tone’s Opinion is remarkable on several fronts. First, the Judge held that student athletes are third party beneficiaries to the agreements between the NCAA and its member schools and that the NCAA thus owes a duty of good faith and fair dealing towards student athletes. Those are concepts long missing from the manner in which the NCAA treats the kids on the playing fields and in the gyms on college campuses across this country. Second, the Judge declared NCAA By Law 12.3.2 “unreliable . . . capricious…illogical . . . and arbitrary” and declared it void and unenforceable. The Judge made a similar finding with respect to By Law 19.7, also declaring it void.

The Court then enjoined the NCAA from issuing any disciplinary action with respect to Mr. Oliver and announced the case would proceed to the next step of establishing damages Oliver suffered by the tawdry treatment he received from an institution thought to be impervious to the standards that govern the rest of us.


Good. I hope the NCAA has to pay through the nose. One of the most inept groups out there in my opinion.

Blogger Pbenn001 -- 2/13/2009 12:58 AM  

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Blogger -- 2/13/2009 2:33 AM  

I agree with PBenn. Rediculous what kind of expectations they have. How can they expect a teenager to leave his contract negotiations to his/her parents and his/herself. They should revise the interprtation of the rule to allow for agent/attorneys to fully participate in negotiations on an individually hired basis. The NCAA's main concern is that they don't taint the amateur status. I don't see the problem if a player compensates a represntative via a contigency for services rendured. Aquiring the services of an attorney for the purposes of contract negotiation in no way results in the player being compensated for playing while enrolled in a college.

Blogger Joseph -- 4/17/2009 11:16 AM  

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