It took a while before mainstream media picked up on the Andy Oliver affair. Eventually, Andy’s case against the NCAA made national headlines, but before any true damage was done to the NCAA’s practice of restricting the rights of its student-athletes, Oliver settled with the association for $750,000. Now, there is a new athlete who is tired of the NCAA bullying him. His name is James Paxton. Here is some more information about Paxton’s case. For a brief recap,
Paxton was drafted last year by the Toronto Blue Jays in the Supplemental First Round (#37 overall), but did not sign. The NCAA is concerned that his advisor, Scott Boras, had direct contact with someone in the Blue Jays organization (against NCAA “no agent” rule). 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. Paxton took this baby to court.
Last Friday, Fayette County Circuit Judge James Ishmael told Paxton that he will have to sit out of competition until he complies with the NCAA investigation.
The unfortunate consequence of all of this is that informed baseball players and their parents may read about this case and Andy Oliver’s case and say that it is not worth it to hire an advisor for the draft. The fact that the NCAA is litigating these matters with such vigor will only serve to chill the business of qualified advisors. In the end, the student-athletes, which should be protected by the NCAA, will end up hurt without the assistance of advisors who understand the business of the game of baseball.
Paxton is the only player picked in the top 100 slots of the 2009 MLB Draft who did not sign, so maybe the chilling effect is not far reaching. However, even if only one or two student-athletes are affected negatively by the NCAA’s actions against Oliver and Paxton, it is more than what is acceptable.