Headline Sports Law

The End Of The Andy Oliver Affair

Andy OliverOn June 4, 2008, I wrote a piece titled, Let Andy Play.  That article and its 51 comments changed this site forever.  Andy Oliver, an outstanding pitcher at Oklahoma State University had been suspended by the NCAA because the association found out that at the time Oliver was deciding whether to go to OSU or sign with the Twins out of high school, his advisor, Robert Baratta, had direct communication with the Twins (which was against NCAA rules).  I remember talking to Robert Baratta of Baratta Partners, as if it was yesterday.  At first, I thought the NCAA had issue with Andy switching advisors from Baratta to Scott Boras, but eventually the truth came out.

A huge lawsuit ensued, and if you are not familiar with the slew of events, I suggest you read through our posts on the subject.  A lot was gained by Andy and his attorney, including the voiding of NCAA Bylaw, which used to prohibit a lawyer from being present during discussions of a contract offer with a professional organization or have any direct contact (i.e., in person, by telephone or by mail) with a professional sports organization on behalf of the individual.  However, that rule now has the force of law behind it once again, now that Andy has settled with the NCAA.

Rick Johnson, Andy’s attorney, believes that it would be a grave mistake for the NCAA to try to enforce that rule, though.  In his words,

So the NCAA can continue to act with its typical arrogance and try to continue to deny student-athletes the right to counsel, or it can realize that it will lose 100/100 of any such future lawsuits over this rule, since no court is going to allow the NCAA to regulate lawyers or prohibit nonmember student-athletes from retaining counsel (Can you imagine what would happen if they had a rule that its members couldn’t have counsel when negotiating their media rights?).  As has been reported recently, the NCAA has sent out a baseball questionnaire to student-athletes who were drafted, but who did not sign, and this questionnaire goes beyond even the bad-faith the NCAA evidenced towards Andy.  No student-athlete legally has to respond to this inquiry, but we’ll see if they are bowed into submission or whether someone decides to challenge this new affront to student-athlete rights.

Oliver settled in turn for $750,000 of consideration.  The Settlement Agreement is embedded below.

Andy Oliver Settlement Terms

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

9 replies on “The End Of The Andy Oliver Affair”

Come on, Darren, you’re in law school. The decision in the Ohio court isn’t binding anywhere other than that district in Ohio. If another player brings suit in California, that court has no obligation to follow that precedent.

Actually, the judge’s order in the liability part of the trial was vacated upon settlement. Therefore, the judge’s voiding of the NCAA rule does not have the force of law behind it. Try reading the entire settlement and practicing law before commenting on it.

What’s most interesting about your comment, “A”, is that your IP address reveals that you are from Now to your statement. It seems as if my original post has caused some confusion. If you read it carefully, I wrote that the rule (yes, I am talking about the original NCAA rule) once again has the force of law behind it. So while I continue to comment about law before I am actually able to practice it, perhaps you should be more polite in your comments and thoroughly read my posts before trying to insult me.

Nice work Darren. You’re consistently one of the (very) few people I don’t have to double-check behind when I read them. And beautiful pull on that a-hole’s IP address. pwn3d

I find it interesting that the NCAA itself is scouring the Internets to see what people are saying about this case. Even if the commenter is just an NCAA flunky and not a decision maker, we have to assume that the NCAA knows that it’s only a matter of time before this rule is challenged again, and this time it will be defeated.

[…] The NCAA intended to appeal the decision, but the appeal won’t happen as the NCAA and Oliver worked out an undisclosed $750,000 financial settlement late last week. While Oliver will receive money from the NCAA, the NCAA’s rules will remain in place. Whether another player challenges those rules remains to be seen. For more, see Sports Agent Blog’s Darren Heitner’s The End of the Andy Oliver Affair. […]

Comments are closed.