According to a report in Baseball America, Oregon State pitcher Ben Wetzler has been indefinitely suspended for allegedly violating NCAA Bylaw 18.104.22.168 -- the so-called “no-agent rule” that prohibits college athletes from using representatives to negotiate on their behalf with professional teams.
Sound familiar? In 2008, Oklahoma State pitcher Andrew Oliver was suspended by the NCAA for a similar violation. Oliver was a sophomore at Oklahoma State when he was offered $390,000 by the Minnesota Twins to sign. Oliver's former lawyers told the NCAA about the offer because they were angry that Oliver hired agent Scott Boras to represent him.
Next thing you know, the NCAA is at Oliver's doorstep. Hours before the lefty was scheduled to pitch for Oklahoma State in a critical NCAA tournament game, school officials told him he couldn't pitch.
Oliver's lawyer at the time, Rick Johnson, said that Oliver's suspension potentially cost Oklahoma State an appearance in the super regional and even the College World Series.
"What we were fighting for was to get Andy reinstated because his reputation is damaged more every day he isn't reinstated,” Johnson said in Aug. 2008.
Almost the same thing happened to Wetzler, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies last year and offered $400,000 to skip his senior season. When Wetzler declined the offer and returned to Oregon State, the Phillies told the NCAA that he violated the no-agent rule during their negotiations.
Now, Wetzler is sidelined, just as Oliver was.
In Oliver's case, he sued the NCAA, saying that the no-agent rule violates a player's right to counsel. The NCAA appealed and settled with Oliver for $750,000.
Wetzler could be headed down the same path to a courtroom.
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