Sports Law Blog
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Friday, August 15, 2008
The NCAA is at it again
The NCAA is at it again, committing what a parent to a 20 year old college athlete calls “Gestapo tactics” by interviewing his son without an attorney late into the night prior to his getting ready to pitch in a crucial regional championship game. Hours before the game, and presumably as a result of the interview, Oklahoma State declared Andy Oliver ineligible.
Oliver has now sued the NCAA and his former “advisors” seeking to regain his eligibility so he can finish his college career and to recover compensation for his damages. The NCAA’s response is typical of the cartel that never understood the concept of due process: it says only the school can seek Oliver’s reinstatement and the pitcher has no standing to sue the organization.
It all started when Oliver was still in high school contemplating whether to be drafted by a major club or attend an institution of higher learning. Like other young men in his position, he had advisors, who were certified MLB player agents, who were supposed to help him make an informed decision about his future. The NCAA rules, always a lesson in absurdity, permit such advisors so long as they are not being paid and do not speak on the player’s behalf to Major League clubs.
Apparently, the advisors were present when representatives of the Minnesota Twins were trying to woo Oliver to join the ranks of professional athletes. Oliver chose not to. He attended Oklahoma State University where he soon became one of the top pitching prospects in the nation.
The trouble started when Oliver started consulting with another unpaid advisor, Scott Boras. When the first advisors learned they had competition, they sent Oliver and his family a bill for $113,000, which the family refused to pay, saying they had never agreed to compensate these advisors who had to be unpaid to comply with NCAA rules.
The NCAA and its member schools have made billions off its student athletes while serving as a free farm system for MLB, the NFL and the NBA. The least it can do when it conducts an inquisition into whether a student has violated its arcane and hypocritical rules is to allow that student the opportunity for legal counsel in the proper setting.