It all started with a simple post with the title, Let Andy Play. I was lucky enough to be privy to some inside information before many large publications heard any word concerning the indefinite suspension of Oklahoma State pitcher, Andy Oliver, in this year’s baseball NCAA Tournament. In the beginning, it was a battle of Andy vs. his former agents, the Baratta brothers, for supposedly defaulting on unpaid advisor fees. In the conclusion of my first post on the issue, I said, I beg that the NCAA scrap Andrew Oliver’s indefinite suspension. That was my main concern: To just let Andy play. But the NCAA did not heed my words.
Andy’s team of attorneys filed a complaint against the NCAA, which resulted in a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued against the association (meaning that the NCAA had to immediately reinstate Andy Oliver’s collegiate eligibility. The NCAA then filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, which was denied last Friday (December 12). The Court’s opinion did say that Andy and his attorneys must join Oklahoma State University to the complaint; however, since OSU is a necessary party and its presence is needed for a determination of the entire controversy. Since OSU has the final say in whether Andy is athletically eligible to play baseball, he will have to join OSU as a defendant in the upcoming case.
Mark your calendars for January 5th, because a matter that I once assumed would be settled before ever going to court may now make its way to the bench. If the case is heard, it has the potential to bring the NCAA down a few pegs. The Court has already noted that there is a contractual relationship between the NCAA and its student-athletes. What is left to determine is whether that relationship has been breached and if compensatory and punative damages should be awarded. If punative damages end up being granted, it will really hurt the NCAA. The damages could reach large numbers if a court finds that the NCAA has been using a strong hand against many potential plaintiffs who never had the resources or the will to go after its potential violations in its contractual relationships. As far as compensatory damages go, Andy was not making any money as a collegiate athlete, but he may be compensated for any pain and suffering relating to sitting out of playing for his competitive team and potential loss of valuable “growing time” as an athlete in a very competitive market.
This should be a very interesting case to follow. If only all parties would have just let Andy play in the beginning…