The NCAA Is Evil, But You Probably Already Knew That

Categories: Sports

The NCAA: ruining the lives of student-athletes since the beginning of time.
Oregon State pitcher Ben Wetzler was drafted in the fifth round of last June's MLB amateur draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. Wetzler was only a junior, but the NCAA permits college juniors to be drafted. Wetzler did not come to an agreement with the Phillies, and as allowed by NCAA rules, he returned to Oregon State for his senior year.

Such things happen all of the time with college baseball. Guys aren't picked as high as they think they should be picked. Or the amount proffered for the contract isn't enough. Or maybe the guy just doesn't want to play for that particular organization and thinks he'll do better come the next draft. It's all allowed. It's all part of the rules. And normally it's not a problem.

But this time out, the Phillies ratted to the NCAA that Wetzler used an agent during negotiations, and the NCAA responded by suspending Wetzler for 20 percent (11 games) of this current Oregon State season. Because using an agent's a no-no, something forbidden by the NCAA rules, though the use of an unpaid adviser, generally an agent, is permitted and encouraged by the NCAA and by MLB.

But these unpaid advisers aren't actually supposed to communicate with the MLB teams, and the kids aren't really allowed to communicate with the advisers while meeting with the teams and apparently, at some point, Wetzler's adviser dared to speak to the Phillies, (Baseball America's Aaron Fitts, the reporter who broke the story, states that Wetzler actually did most of his own negotiating) and the Phillies, acting like a spoiled brat spurned by the homecoming queen, sought revenge. This is all stupid and Catch-22-like, a rule allowing a kid to be drafted yet not turn pro, who can negotiate a contract yet can't ask for the assistance of an adult trained in negotiating contracts. And since the rule is so asinine and illogical, so poorly thought out and designed, MLB teams usually choose to ignore the rules and allow the adviser to sit in on the negotiations since it's always a good idea to have an adult around.

Unless that team is the Philadelphia Phillies. Unless that team's pissed off because the kid turned down its offer. Unless that team sees a way to get revenge while harming the kid's future. Especially if that team doesn't mind being seen as a bully taking advantage of the rules while ignoring the possible impacts of its bullying tactics -- impacts like college teams withholding credentials and access to Phillies scouts and team personnel, or families and advisers refusing to provide information to the team.

But as bullying as the Phillies have been, it can't be denied that the truly evil party is the NCAA. For it might have been the Phillies who were spurned and ratted out Wetzler, but it was the NCAA's own idiotic policies that made this whole thing possible. Because it just makes absolute zero sense to allow for college kids to be drafted as juniors while denying them the use of agents, yet the NCAA does just this while creating the fiction of the adviser who can't actually offer advice when needed.

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