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The Chilling Effect Of The James Paxton Case

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 PaxtonHere 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.

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.

3 replies on “The Chilling Effect Of The James Paxton Case”

Are you sure Paxton was the only player not to sign in the top 100? Have a look at Matt Purke , Levon Washington, Jake Eliopoulos, Kenny Diekroeger, and Jake Barrett.

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