According to an article by Teddy Cahill, the NCAA rule change allowing underclassmen men’s basketball players to use agents without forfeiting the rest of their eligibility could lead to the same rule change for baseball players. Basketball players must request an evaluation of their draft potential from the NBA’s undergraduate advisory committee, the relationship between the player and the agent must be terminated when the player returns to college. A similar rule was passed for hockey players and it shares much of the same framework as the bylaw that was passed in 2016, allowing high school baseball players to use agents after they are drafted, provided they end the relationship upon entering college.
Chairman of the American Baseball Coaches Association Division I, Jim Schlossnagle, thinks that baseball needs the rule change as much as any sport. “There’s always been discussion among coaches because it’s unfair to allow high school players to do it and not allow college players to do it,” Schlossnagle said. “A college player needs just as much help as a high school player and you could apply the exact same rule.”
The framework is now in place for authors of new baseball legislation but they cannot simply copy the rules laid out for basketball because of the sport’s drafts but it should not be hard to tweak. The NCAA has a strong commitment to amateurism and baseball’s draft time is one of the main obstacles that new agent legislation will face. The Final Four for men’s basketball is three months before the NBA Draft while the MLB Draft is held during the NCAA Tournament.
“We need to continue to make decisions on what’s best for student-athletes. We made that rule in high school for our players and I think that’s what they’re doing for the basketball kids. Why not put them in a position to get the advice they need and leave the door open for them to come back to school?” said Louisville coach Dan McDonnell.
Veteran MLB agent Scott Boras has always been critical of the NCAA rules preventing players from having agents represent them when they are drafted and when the rule changed for high school players in 2016 he told Baseball America that it was important for all draftees to have access to the most information possible.
“I think every athlete needs expert legal counsel because the teams all have it,” he said. “When you’re looking at this, if the teams deem it wise to have legal representation in their organization for all their activities and conduct, why is it not wise for the athletes to deserve the same?”