Ohio Judge Rules That NCAA Cannot Bar Lawyers From Assisting High School Players At Negotiations

180px-ncaa_logosvgA state judge has struck down one of the most obnoxious rules of the NCAA: a ban on college baseball players hiring lawyers to assist them in discussions with baseball clubs. The NCAA suspended Oklahoma State pitcher Andrew Oliver after her allowed legal advisers to listen to contract negotiations after being drafted by the Minnesota Twins in June 2006. It is amazing that it took so long to strike down this abusive rule that appears designed to maximize the opportunity of these clubs to take advantage of college players.

Erie County Common Pleas Judge Tygh Tone ruled that the NCAA cannot bar access to legal counsel. Under the NCAA rules, a player can hire a lawyer but bar them from negotiations. This is an example of how a dominant party can develop an industry custom or rule through sheer power plays. In Oliver’s case, he was a senior in high school when the Twins came calling at Vermilion High School in Ohio. The Twins forced the suspension because this high school kid brought lawyers who could inform him of his options and rights.

The same thing happened to Jeremy Sowers, now with the Cleveland Indians, after he was suspended for six games at Vanderbilt in 2002 after his representatives talked with the Cincinnati Reds.

The NCAA should be ashamed for such abusive rules, which reinforce concerns over these clubs taking advantage of young players.

Tone previously ruled in favor of this injunctive relief in the Oliver case.

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4 thoughts on “Ohio Judge Rules That NCAA Cannot Bar Lawyers From Assisting High School Players At Negotiations”

  1. Almost every day I drive by the old NCAA building in Mission. And every day, without exception, I am glad it’s the “old” building.

  2. Every time the NCAA gets in the news, it’s always in the context of how they are abusing the system / mistreating the players. I often wonder why anyone in college sports tolerates their presence. (Of course, the obvious answer is money and politics, but that won’t stop me from commenting on the absurdity of it all).

  3. This has been a pet peeve of mine for many years. The NCAA defines an agent in such a way as to exclude any lawyer from assisting a client when faced with a serious career determining negotiation with an employer with an incredible advantage in bargaining power. Add to that, the client is immature and willing to accept most anything to live out his dream. It’s recipe for disaster fostered by the Never Cared About the Athletes (NCAA) gang. I think the barring of attorneys from participating in the recruitment process with the school is likewise incredibly unfair, and pits a typically unsophisticated 18 year old (and his inexperienced parents) against a multi-million dollar business seeking the most talent for the least amount of scholarship dollars. As many college athletes know, the best interests of the student-athlete ranks right up there with making sure the cheerleaders arrive at the game on-time with many coaches.

  4. Contrary to popular belief the NCAA actually stands for hypocritical monopoly and not amateur sports.

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