When I first reported on Andy Oliver back on June 2, 2008, no one had heard of him. Since then, he has made national headlines in every major paper for his lawsuit against the NCAA, which eventually was settled for$750,000. The antiquated NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199 was voided, only to be re-established by the settlement. It looked like the NCAA would finally receive a blow, but the settlement allowed the organization to remain unscathed ($750,000 is pennies to the NCAA).
Many would say that the NCAA has gone back to its usual tactics of ignoring the rights of student athletes in favor of doing whatever it pleases. One person who agrees with that statement is Richard Johnson, the attorney who represented Andy Oliver in his lawsuit. Johnson also has the pleasure of representing another student-athlete who has a solid claim against the NCAA. This player’s name is James Paxton, and he may have a stronger case than Oliver had.
Just as Oliver was a standout pitcher for Oklahoma State, Paxton is the #1 pitcher for the University of Kentucky. Oliver was informed of his violation before the NCAA laid down a penalty. Paxton was not as fortunate. A University of Kentucky employee basically told Paxton that he would have to sit out from playing and would lose his financial aid if he refused to meet with NCAA investigators for a violation that the NCAA would not disclose. The employee informed Paxton that when a basketball player cooperated with the NCAA, he only received a 6-game suspension instead of having to sit out the entire year. Recently, UK has stated that Paxton will not have to sit out.
Paxton was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the Supplemental First Round (#37 overall), largely due to his fastball, which has been clocked up to 98 mph. He decided to come back to UK for his senior season instead of signing for the offer presented to him by the Blue Jays. In all likelihood, the NCAA investigation surrounds Paxton’s actions regarding the draft. Did his advisor have direct contact with someone in the Blue Jays organization? His advisor was the same man who most recently represented Andy Oliver: Scott Boras. Boras has already said that he is compliant with NCAA rules and regulations.
“We are compliant with the NCAA rules by mandate,” Boras said. “We have to go to families and charge them for information that we would otherwise not charge for. And we have to go through the bailiwick of having the parents deal with the teams through our counsel, which is crazy.”
The most shady part of how the NCAA has handled this thus far is that the NCAA told Paxton to keep the investigation hidden from his parents and lawyers.
Enjoy the Memorandum in Support of Plaintiff’s Motion for a Temporary Injunction, replicated below.