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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Report: Phillies turn in Oregon State’s Ben Wetzler to NCAA for using an agent

The Philadelphia Phillies turned in Oregon State left-hander Ben Wetzler to the NCAA for using an agent during negotiations with the team and refusing to sign as their fifth-round pick in last year’s MLB draft, reports Baseball America‘s Aaron Fitt.

The NCAA prohibits any athlete from using agents to negotiate with pro teams and as a result, Wetzler was suspended indefinitely last week by the NCAA after returning to school for his senior season.

He was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection last season after compiling a 10-1 record, a 2.25 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 96 innings. He was scheduled to pitch Friday before the NCAA suspended him.

DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:13 AM | 104 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ncaa, phillies

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   1. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 09:32 AM (#4659507)
What a piece of #### thing to do.
   2. Bug Selig Posted: February 20, 2014 at 09:37 AM (#4659510)
RAJ may be a complete moron, but at least he's classy.
   3. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4659522)
Snitches get stitches, Ruben.

TFA says they tried to do it to their sixth-rounder, too.
   4. Scott Lange Posted: February 20, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4659528)
I really hope the Phillies suffer some sort of real backlash for this.
   5. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: February 20, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4659532)
Sounds like a fantastic way to ensure that you can never sign a drafted underclassman again.
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: February 20, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4659537)
Amaro was upset to learn Wetzler was only 22 when a typo on their internal scouting said he was 32.
   7. BDC Posted: February 20, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4659538)
Ah, restraint of trade, as American as baseball, no wait, that is baseball.
   8. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4659544)
What is the point of this? Are the Phillies peeved they couldn't take advantage of an unrepresented amateur? I'm embarrassed to be a sports fan sometimes.
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4659550)
What is the point of this? Are the Phillies peeved they couldn't take advantage of an unrepresented amateur?


I think that's pretty much it, yeah. If we can't have you, no one can.
   10. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: February 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4659551)
Stephen Strasburg played baseball for the San Diego State University Aztecs which Wikipedia tells me is an NCAA school. He was represented at age 21 by Scott Boras so I assume he was still in school at the time he was drafted. He pulled in a cool signing bonus on top of the $400K salary the Nats paid him for his services the first year. Did his father negotiate this deal??

What am I missing here? Isn't this routinely done with a wink and a nod?
   11. eddieot Posted: February 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4659552)
Pat Gillick is to RAJ like John McCain is to Sarah Palin. What a terrible legacy to top off a respected career.
   12. ASmitty Posted: February 20, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4659561)
What am I missing here? Isn't this routinely done with a wink and a nod?


I am totally ignorant about the MLB draft, but in the NBA and NFL drafts a player may hire an agent, but if he does so he cannot return to school. The MLB draft is more arcane than the other drafts, however.
   13. GregD Posted: February 20, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4659562)
Stephen Strasburg played baseball for the San Diego State University Aztecs which Wikipedia tells me is an NCAA school. He was represented at age 21 by Scott Boras so I assume he was still in school at the time he was drafted. He pulled in a cool signing bonus on top of the $400K salary the Nats paid him for his services the first year. Did his father negotiate this deal??

What am I missing here? Isn't this routinely done with a wink and a nod?
I could be wrong but I think the issue is:
1) You can be in college and use an agent to sign with a pro team

but

2) You can't be in college and use an agent, then decide not to sign and come back to play college sports.

The NCAA's penalties are generally directed at players who continue to play college sports.
   14. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4659588)
In college baseball, agents are technically "advisors". They don't have the player sign an official contract formalizing the relationship until right before the player signs with a MLB team, in order to preserve his eligibility, and all dealings need to flow through the player rather than the agent in order to keep things above-board. By this Kabuki shamshow is the NCAA's veneer of "amateurism" preserved.

In reality, guys cheat the system all the time, and teams almost always look the other way so as to avoid poisoning the well. The notable thing here is that the Phillies are calling their draftees out for something that while technically illegal is pretty common industry practice. I can't imagine that it's going to win them any friends.
   15. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: February 20, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4659591)
second straight year they did this.
from my (ignorant and distant) position, it's dumb as hell.
   16. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4659595)
Evidence continues to mount that Ruben Amaro Jr. is just plain unintelligent, even by professional sports GM standards. He just doesn't have the faintest idea what he's doing.
   17. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 20, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4659605)
that while technically illegal


technically the NCAA doesn't have the ability to enact "laws"

kid should sue both the Phillies and the NCAA
   18. Rusty Priske Posted: February 20, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4659609)
Yeah, the difference in the Strasbourg situation is that the NCAA probably COULD have suspended him... but why bother?
   19. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: February 20, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4659617)
kid should sue both the Phillies and the NCAA


I don't see that going anywhere.

He'll just go play in independent ball until he's drafted again.
   20. AROM Posted: February 20, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4659629)
Evidence continues to mount that Ruben Amaro Jr. is just plain unintelligent, even by professional sports GM standards. He just doesn't have the faintest idea what he's doing.


Maybe. But I think it's more likely he knows exactly what he's doing, and is just vindictive.
   21. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4659631)
It is obvious that Amaro is being vindictive; it's also obvious that this action can only damage his own interests. Acting impulsively and emotionally when doing so goes against your own rational interests is indicative of stupidity.
   22. Jerry Lumpe Rutherford (Dan Lee) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4659637)
He'll just go play in independent ball until he's drafted again.
I'd say something snarky about ending up like Luke Hochevar, but Hochevar has turned into a pretty terrific bullpen weapon.

I'm too late to snark. Story of my life.
   23. just plain joe Posted: February 20, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4659638)
I'd say something snarky about ending up like Luke Hochevar, but Hochevar has turned into a pretty terrific bullpen weapon.


I kept Hochevar on my DMB team for years, hoping for the breakthrough everyone kept talking about. As soon as I let him go he turned into a bullpen god; thus demonstrating once again why I don't win these leagues very often.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4659640)
Evidence continues to mount that Ruben Amaro Jr. is just plain unintelligent, even by professional sports GM standards. He just doesn't have the faintest idea what he's doing.

Example #3178 of why you shouldn't limit your talent pool for executives to former-ballplayers and young guys who are willing to work 80 hours/week for $25K.
   25. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4659644)
If they keep this kind of #### up they're never going to sign another draft pick.

EDIT: Also, this kid was a fifth-round pick. If he doesn't play big time ball, he probably needs the scholarship. God, this just gets scuzzier and scuzzier the more I think about it.
   26. Answer Guy Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4659645)
Maybe. But I think it's more likely he knows exactly what he's doing, and is just vindictive.


But I'd have to imagine that potential draftees would be more likely to not even bother talking to the team if faced with a similar situation down the road.
   27. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4659650)
It is obvious that Amaro is being vindictive; it's also obvious that this action can only damage his own interests.


Well, it's not like drafted players have any input into which teams draft them. And it will probably make the Phillies 2014 draft picks think twice about turning down their offer. Amaro probably isn't thinking a lot farther ahead than that.
   28. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4659652)
As soon as I let him go he turned into a bullpen god; thus demonstrating once again why I don't win these leagues very often.

This never happens to Major League GMs does it? Ever??
   29. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4659658)
Well, it's not like drafted players have any input into which teams draft them. And it will probably make the Phillies 2014 draft picks think twice about turning down their offer. Amaro probably isn't thinking a lot farther ahead than that.


If I'm an underclassman drafted by the Phillies, I don't hire an agent -- and I don't negotiate. I tell them my demand, and that I'm going back to college if I don't get it, and don't bother calling me again unless it's with a contract that matches my demand.
   30. McCoy Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4659665)
Which would be about as stupid as what RAJ is doing right now. Unless you are the world's worst negotiator there is no reason to have no negotiations whatsoever with the Phillies and only throw out a take it or leave it offer. I mean, I guess if you're a millionaire already and you don't really care if you play in a professional league then you can make any kind of demand you want. But if you are somebody who wants a chance at making big money and playing for a professional team you're going to have to negotiate. Talking to another human being isn't really all that hard, folks.
   31. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4659672)

Right #30, the team still has most of the leverage in the draftee relationship. Amaro is being a dick here but he's taking advantage of the rules and it probably will not hurt him much, if at all.

The bigger issue is that the NCAA rule is stupid.
   32. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4659681)
The NCAA protects its own interests. It is vital to the continued success of its slave-labor cartel to maintain the illusion that its slaves are amateurs.
   33. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4659682)
The bigger issue is that the NCAA rule is stupid.

It seems unbelievably stupid. Whom exactly does it benefit? I guess it benefits the pro team negotiating with the player, but why does the NCAA care about that more than the student-athlete?
The NCAA protects its own interests. It is vital to the continued success of its slave-labor cartel to maintain the illusion that its slaves are amateurs.

How does hiring an agent to get paid 10% of $0 pitching for Oregon State change the slave or amateur status?
   34. theboyqueen Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4659685)
The bigger issue is that the NCAA rule is stupid.


Genius student, full ride to Berkeley, engineering major, as a sophomore comes up with some brilliant invention and Google wants to hire him. Student hires a lawyer and negotiates with Google. Decides he doesn't want the job and wants to stay in college. Because he hired a lawyer, he no longer is eligible for scholarship and loses his ability to participate in intercollegiate math competition.

The above scenario is laughable and yet, the NCAA persists somehow.

If the restraint of trade enforced by the NCAA is somehow legal under labor law then I'm afraid our labor laws are worthless.
   35. theboyqueen Posted: February 20, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4659694)
Also, Joe Black of Swarthmore, whose dad is a lawyer, is in a much better position than Demetrius White of Ole Miss, who doesn't know whether his dad is alive or dead (and certainly has no lawyers amongst his friends or family), to not get fully taken advantage of in this scenario.
   36. TJ Posted: February 20, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4659699)
Question- if this kid went overseas to play and signed for a year or two- Japan, South Korea, Europe, wherever- would he still be subject to the MLB draft or would he be a free agent?
   37. theboyqueen Posted: February 20, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4659701)
Seems to me regardless of the answer both high-level basketball and baseball prospects are better off getting paid in professional leagues elsewhere than playing for free in college, unless there is some other marketable skill they are hoping to develop in college.
   38. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 20, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4659703)
kid should sue both the Phillies and the NCAA


I don't see that going anywhere.


2 reasons why he should/could:

1: The NCAA actually worries about anti-trust and related suits
2: Someone needs to take a run at MLB's anti-trust "exemption"
   39. ASmitty Posted: February 20, 2014 at 02:18 PM (#4659711)
How does hiring an agent to get paid 10% of $0 pitching for Oregon State change the slave or amateur status?


Agents pretty routinely advance money to their clients before the draft; it's a selling point. College football/basketball players are often seen driving around luxury cars a few days after signing with an agent, and months and months before actually signing a contract with an team or sponsor.

Ostensibly, this is why hiring an agent endangers one's amateur status. Though there's no real reason why the NCAA couldn't treat advances the same as booster payments or other "improper benefits."
   40. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4659738)

Ostensibly, this is why hiring an agent endangers one's amateur status. Though there's no real reason why the NCAA couldn't treat advances the same as booster payments or other "improper benefits."

Or provide its own lawyers/advisors for students who want to test the draft waters but retain their eligibility.
   41. JJ1986 Posted: February 20, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4659741)
Or provide its own lawyers/advisors for students who want to test the draft waters but retain their eligibility.


There isn't even testing the waters for baseball players. Every junior is eligible for the draft, whether he wants to be or not.
   42. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: February 20, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4659749)
Well, it's not like drafted players have any input into which teams draft them. And it will probably make the Phillies 2014 draft picks think twice about turning down their offer. Amaro probably isn't thinking a lot farther ahead than that.

It also would/should make college teams careful about how they treat PHI when they want to scout a guy. If I run OSU, Phillies dudes are people non grata at this point. Plus, and this goes beyond the timeframe you're specifying, I'd rule out signing with Philly (or wherever Amaro works as decision maker) as a FA if they had the same management team in place.
   43. ASmitty Posted: February 20, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4659755)
There isn't even testing the waters for baseball players. Every junior is eligible for the draft, whether he wants to be or not.


It really is asinine. A drafted player can't negotiate with any other team, and if he negotiates with the team that drafted him, then he must not have any professional negotiator assist him. If he does have a professional assist him, then he must sit out a year or sign whatever deal the team that drafted him offers.

So your choices are:

A) Maintain what little leverage you have but sacrifice the opportunity to have counsel assist you; or
B) Give up all of your leverage.

It's ridiculous.
   44. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4659756)
Question- if this kid went overseas to play and signed for a year or two- Japan, South Korea, Europe, wherever- would he still be subject to the MLB draft or would he be a free agent?


Still subject to the draft. Scott Boras had this idea long before you or I did.
   45. Ziggy Posted: February 20, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4659801)
Something I've long wondered about is why top prospects don't get citizenship somewhere else. When he was in college couldn't Strasburg have called up Andora or Lechenstein or somewhere and said "If you make me a citizen, I can get a $100 million free-agent contract and you'll get an income-tax slice of that. How about it?"

Harder to do now with international free agent spending limits though.
   46. dlf Posted: February 20, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4659817)
Or provide its own lawyers/advisors for students who want to test the draft waters but retain their eligibility.


I see this working really well. Agent hired by NCAA: "My client Joe Collegeplayer wants eleventy-seven bajillion dollars and free unicorns or he is going back to ol' alma mater."
   47. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4659819)
Something I've long wondered about is why top prospects don't get citizenship somewhere else. When he was in college couldn't Strasburg have called up Andora or Lechenstein or somewhere and said "If you make me a citizen, I can get a $100 million free-agent contract and you'll get an income-tax slice of that. How about it?"

He'd still be working in the US, so would still be liable for US Income tax. Andorra wouldn't get squat.
   48. esseff Posted: February 20, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4659825)
It really is asinine. A drafted player can't negotiate with any other team, and if he negotiates with the team that drafted him, then he must not have any professional negotiator assist him. If he does have a professional assist him, then he must sit out a year or sign whatever deal the team that drafted him offers.

So your choices are:

A) Maintain what little leverage you have but sacrifice the opportunity to have counsel assist you; or


The athlete can have counsel assisting him, to a point. The gray line is that this "adviser" cannot deal directly with the team on the athlete's behalf.
   49. esseff Posted: February 20, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4659835)
When he was in college couldn't Strasburg have called up Andora or Lechenstein or somewhere and said "If you make me a citizen, I can get a $100 million free-agent contract and you'll get an income-tax slice of that. How about it?"


Players who enroll in a high school or college in the U.S. are draft-eligible, regardless or where they're from. It's why Jaime Garcia, a Mexican, had to go through the draft: He was crossing the border every day to go to a U.S. high school.
   50. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4659841)

Genius student, full ride to Berkeley, engineering major, as a sophomore comes up with some brilliant invention and Google wants to hire him. Student hires a lawyer and negotiates with Google. Decides he doesn't want the job and wants to stay in college. Because he hired a lawyer, he no longer is eligible for scholarship and loses his ability to participate in intercollegiate math competition.

The above scenario is laughable and yet, the NCAA persists somehow.


At most universities, if the student used campus resources (computers, lab space, etc.) to come up with the invention the university owns it and any profit from it. So not so laughable.
   51. villageidiom Posted: February 20, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4659847)
I have no problem with what the Phillies did here. Someone they drafted broke NCAA rules, then elected to remain where he will be subjected to those rules. SOL.

I have problems with NCAA rules, but that's another story.
   52. Sunday silence Posted: February 20, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4659869)
can someone explain to me how this is a NCAA rule at all? My pt. being that people are entitled, by the Constitution, to be represented and/or advised by attorneys.

if the amateur thing is the issue, and am willing to grant that amateur status is a worthy thing, then why not say he loses amateur status when he reaps the first dollar from this deal? or even if say the moment he signs it? but not for hiring an atty.

But there's a 5th amendment right here; has anyone ever challenged it on that basis?
   53. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: February 20, 2014 at 04:57 PM (#4659886)
can someone explain to me how this is a NCAA rule at all? My pt. being that people are entitled, by the Constitution, to be represented and/or advised by attorneys.
In the Andrew Oliver case, the court threw out the rule on that basis, but the case was ultimately settled out-of-court, with the rule reinstated. So he could try that route.
   54. Scott Lange Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4659895)
From Aaron Fitt's Twitter feed:

One agent: "As of today, Phillies are out. Phillies are not getting into any more of our households. We're shutting down all communications"


Hearing from one agent after another today about the Ben Wetzler situation. There will be repercussions for the Phillies.
   55. ASmitty Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4659899)
In the Andrew Oliver case, the court threw out the rule on that basis, but the case was ultimately settled out-of-court, with the rule reinstated. So he could try that route.


Wait, didn't Oliver go to Oregon State too? Maybe RAJ is just helping Oregon State continue to fight the good fight.
   56. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4659903)
Wait, didn't Oliver go to oregon State too? Maybe RAJ is just helping Oregon State continue to fight the good fight.


Oklahoma State.
   57. ASmitty Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4659905)
All OSUs look alike to the Phillies.

(And me)
   58. villageidiom Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4659911)
if the amateur thing is the issue, and am willing to grant that amateur status is a worthy thing, then why not say he loses amateur status when he reaps the first dollar from this deal? or even if say the moment he signs it?
Working with the same premise that amateur status is a worthy thing, they have to draw the line somewhere. I think they draw the line there for two reasons:

1. The moment you hire someone to represent your employment interests and negotiate on your behalf, you are engaging in a professional act. Even if nothing comes of it, you have basically declared yourself a professional, and you can no more re-declare your amateur status than you can re-declare virginity.

2. Too many opportunities for kickbacks, etc. If you have an agent, it becomes harder for the NCAA to track what money ultimately flows to you. Johnny Football could sign autographs for "free", with his agent collecting a huge fee for arranging the event, and some of that money making it to Johnny now or down the road - or to his parents now (and eventually through them to Johnny). They have a hard enough time fighting this now without agents.

Again, I have problems with how the NCAA handles things. But if they're going to draw a line, drawing it at agent representation is an OK place to do it, solely on the justification of #1 above.

That they allow agents to "advise" is fine as well. No amateur athlete would likely understand contract language, nor have a sense of what contract provisions are typical for the job. Reviewing professional contracts before making the decision to embark in that profession is a sensible amateur activity, as is hiring an advisor who is familiar with such contracts to aid in that process.
   59. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4659916)
I have no problem with what the Phillies did here. Someone they drafted broke NCAA rules, then elected to remain where he will be subjected to those rules. SOL.


Because teams can abuse it, like in this case:

Tim Bascom ?@TimmyBasc
this is the norm. happened to me in 06' when Padres drafted me. Told them im goin back for my senior yr. next thing i know the school rules me ineligible after "someone" informed them i had an agent which i never had. just another bargaining chip for teams to use. #rawDeal


I put that together from a series of 3 tweets.
   60. God Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4659931)
Looks like the Phillies are getting hammered on this, and deservedly so. I'd love it if this thing had enough legs to force the resignations of Amaro and Marti Wolever. You can hold an MLB job if you're incompetent, and you can hold an MLB job if you're a scumbag, but you should not be able to hold one if you're both.
   61. Sunday silence Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4659936)
In the Oliver case, he didnt pay his attorneys. so the disgrunted attorneys turned him. Way to go! That's really something.
   62. God Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4659940)
1. The moment you hire someone to represent your employment interests and negotiate on your behalf, you are engaging in a professional act. Even if nothing comes of it, you have basically declared yourself a professional, and you can no more re-declare your amateur status than you can re-declare virginity.


Sorry, but this is nonsense, not to mention one of the worst similes of all time. You don't cease being a virgin when you declare your intention to have sex. You cease being a virgin when the penis goes inside the vagina. By any standard of logic, ballplayers cease being amateurs when they actually play a professional game and are paid for it. Not when they take some oblique action that others might interpret as intending to turn professional at some point in the future.
   63. Sunday silence Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4659943)
That they allow agents to "advise" is fine as well. No amateur athlete would likely understand contract language, nor have a sense of what contract provisions are typical for the job. Reviewing professional contracts before making the decision to embark in that profession is a sensible amateur activity, as is hiring an advisor who is familiar with such contracts to aid in that process.


village: how is this any different than hiring someone to represent you? You say when you hire someone to represent you, you are no longer amateur but just looking over the contracts you are...

your argument no. 2 makes a bit more sense. Perhaps it is the best argument out there. Still I would argue: 1) 5th amendment right; 2) there are other ways to handle kickbacks etc. your is a practical argument but the 5th amd. is very important in our framework.

He should stand a good chance in court but there's no guarantees which is a shame that you have to risk your status just to prove something exists that the Framers insisted upon. perhaps someone could bring a Declaratory Action to prove this.
   64. Sunday silence Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4659946)
By any standard of logic, ballplayers cease being amateurs when they actually play a professional game and are paid for it. Not when they take some oblique action that others might interpret as intending to turn professional at some point in the future.


agreed because by that reasoning. Anyone going to college to play football aspires to play professional sports.

or anyone going to sports camp. Or anyone who has a doctor do TJ surgery. Or anyone who works out all year long.
   65. bobm Posted: February 20, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4659956)
You can hold an MLB job if you're incompetent, and you can hold an MLB job if you're a scumbag, but you should not be able to hold one if you're both.

Good thing that team owners are not allowed to hold MLB jobs. :-)
   66. villageidiom Posted: February 20, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4659958)
Because teams can abuse it, like in this case
So he claims.

I don't mean for that to be taken as a rebuttal, as it isn't one. I've just dealt with far too many people who will lie publicly to mask evidence of their public stupidity, and thus I am not taking a few tweets at face value. It doesn't mean that guy wasn't screwed by the Padres; it just means I don't take it as evidence of anything. Your valid point, that teams could try to take advantage of it, is noted. Their success depends on how easily the NCAA can be fooled by teams.

Frankly, I have no idea if teams are likely to turn in athletes who aren't using agents, or athletes are likely to try to have it both ways, or if agents are likely to go rogue and behave like they represent someone they don't actually represent. I said what I said about the Phillies because the NCAA doesn't suspend everyone who is so accused, but they did suspended Wetzler. I'm assuming there's actually something to the case, based on what little we know. If there is something to this case, then I don't have a problem with what the Phillies did here. Obviously if the Phillies are making stuff up, I have a problem with it.

(The case of the 6th-round draft pick who wasn't suspended... I don't know if the Phillies made it up, or if they didn't but NCAA couldn't verify, or if it was a rogue agent as I described above who confused the whole thing.)

I'll grab us some seats while you get the popcorn, and we'll see how this plays out.
   67. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4659962)
At most universities, if the student used campus resources (computers, lab space, etc.) to come up with the invention the university owns it and any profit from it. So not so laughable.

While I would question how often that really happens (Harvard is not the largest shareholder of Facebook, for example), I also don't think that selling an invention is the right analogy. Athletes are just selling their own future labor.

1. The moment you hire someone to represent your employment interests and negotiate on your behalf, you are engaging in a professional act. Even if nothing comes of it, you have basically declared yourself a professional, and you can no more re-declare your amateur status than you can re-declare virginity.

This seems like a reasonable position, but also a fairly arbitrary place to draw the line (anywhere you draw it that doesn't involve actually earning money is going to be arbitrary). Why is hiring an agent to negotiate for you inherently more professional than negotiating on your own behalf?

2. Too many opportunities for kickbacks, etc. If you have an agent, it becomes harder for the NCAA to track what money ultimately flows to you. Johnny Football could sign autographs for "free", with his agent collecting a huge fee for arranging the event, and some of that money making it to Johnny now or down the road - or to his parents now (and eventually through them to Johnny). They have a hard enough time fighting this now without agents.

But then you contradict that by saying it's ok to hire an "advisor" as long as he doesn't negotiate on your behalf. So I don't think this justification holds up.
   68. Swedish Chef Posted: February 20, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4659965)
I have no problem with what the Phillies did here. Someone they drafted broke NCAA rules, then elected to remain where he will be subjected to those rules. SOL.


If you have a problem with the NCAA, you should have a problem with the Phillies using their rules just to hurt a kid.
   69. Sunday silence Posted: February 20, 2014 at 06:35 PM (#4659969)
I think a more clear "bright line" would be: when the money goes into your account OR when you sign that agreement OR when you cross the chalk line after signing, etc. There are better bright line tests out there.
   70. toratoratora Posted: February 20, 2014 at 07:09 PM (#4659980)
Players who enroll in a high school or college in the U.S. are draft-eligible, regardless or where they're from.

So,if you're a stud athlete you should home school and go the Bryce Harper route then?
   71. God Posted: February 20, 2014 at 07:46 PM (#4659999)
A home school is still a school.
   72. villageidiom Posted: February 20, 2014 at 07:49 PM (#4660002)
You don't cease being a virgin when you declare your intention to have sex.
The analogy was in terms of being a status you lose that you cannot regain. What, you thought I was equating sex with hiring an agent? It seems so obvious I wasn't saying that that I feel weird having to point it out.

Whether amateurism should be a status you cannot regain is another argument for another day. It's clear how the NCAA feels about it, so I'm sticking with that for this discussion.

By any standard of logic, ballplayers cease being amateurs when they actually play a professional game and are paid for it.
By any standard of logic, ballplayers who have signed a professional contract are no longer amateurs, even though they have not actually played a professional game and have yet to be paid. Given your statement, it appears you don't understand "any standard of logic", and I don't even have to draw the line where the NCAA does to demonstrate that.

God defies logic anyway, so that's cool.

village: how is this any different than hiring someone to represent you? You say when you hire someone to represent you, you are no longer amateur but just looking over the contracts you are...
Let me clarify then. When you hire someone to represent your interest in employment as an athlete, according to the NCAA you are no longer amateur. If you hire someone to inform your decision about whether to gain employment as an athlete, according to the NCAA you are not. It's like visiting the doctor at her office to check your knee versus visiting the same doctor at the hospital for knee surgery. In either case you could back out before the actual surgery, but in the latter case by going to the hospital where your knee surgery is scheduled you are in essence acting with intent to have knee surgery. In the former, you are simply trying to find out if it's a good idea. Maybe at that stage you intended to have surgery, and maybe you didn't, but nobody other than you will ever know.

The NCAA can't know when you made a decision versus when you were weighing your options. They can only go with what you actually do*. I suppose they could draw the line at hiring someone to interpret contracts so you can decide if you would want to sign them, rather than when you hire them to negotiate a contract for you. It's just that the line is fuzzier there. One can hire an advisor because they fully intend to go pro and just don't want to get screwed, and one can hire an advisor because they want to understand better what would happen if they made the decision to go pro. There is plausible deniability. Hiring an agent is the first truly clear, active, outward sign of the decision to go pro**. I think that's how the NCAA looks at it.

The messy thing, of course, is that the people who can best serve as advisors for this are agents. And if the student is pleased with their work as an advisor, they're probably likely to hire him or her as an agent. It invites a view of impropriety. But if you're not a fan of impropriety you're probably not a fan of NCAA sports anyway.

* Or, I suppose, what the Phillies say you did. ;-)

** Other than an actual statement of "I declare my intent to go pro," which they also appear to accept for lesser sports.
   73. villageidiom Posted: February 20, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4660006)
If you have a problem with the NCAA, you should have a problem with the Phillies using their rules just to hurt a kid.
I can simultaneously disagree with the rules and applaud enforcement of (or compliance with) the rules. That's how I roll.

That aside, the Phillies used a kid breaking rules to discourage future draft picks from breaking rules in order to gain leverage over the Phillies. Or maybe they used a kid breaking rules to publicly shame an unscrupulous agent who didn't protect the kid's interests, thus discouraging future Phillies draftees from doing business with unscrupulous agents. That helps the Phillies, too. I suppose it's possible they could have Christie'd the kid, but we should always consider that the Phillies think they're better off by doing this.
   74. Sunday silence Posted: February 20, 2014 at 08:11 PM (#4660009)
When you hire someone to represent your interest in employment as an athlete, according to the NCAA you are no longer amateur. If you hire someone to inform your decision about whether to gain employment as an athlete, according to the NCAA you are not.


but isnt this a distinction without a real difference? If someone tells you:

"Dont take the Phillies offer, the Pirates will prolly offer you a million more next year."

What is it? does this have to do with my INTEREST in being employed or MY DECISION? BOth?

I mean why should that sort of distinction turn on exactly what words were said? In fact these words seem ambiguous to me.

A much brighter line is what I stated above. As pointed out in the virgin analogy which I think you may have missed:

The analogy of being a virgin to being an amateur is that they both require ACTS in order to lose that status. You dont lose virginity by intent; and so his point is that you shouldnt lose amateur status via intent.

He was using your own argument against you, as someone would not lose virgin status simply by stating their intent. I thought it was pretty good comeback to you....
   75. JJ1986 Posted: February 20, 2014 at 08:18 PM (#4660012)
That aside, the Phillies used a kid breaking rules to discourage future draft picks from breaking rules in order to gain leverage over the Phillies. Or maybe they used a kid breaking rules to publicly shame an unscrupulous agent who didn't protect the kid's interests, thus discouraging future Phillies draftees from doing business with unscrupulous agents. That helps the Phillies, too.


It's not an MLB rule, though. There's nothing in the MLB rules that prevent college juniors from hiring agents. The Phillies are not guaranteed that leverage.
   76. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: February 20, 2014 at 08:25 PM (#4660016)
I can simultaneously disagree with the rules and applaud enforcement of (or compliance with) the rules. That's how I roll.

So, your position on someone guilty of blasphemy in Saudi Arabia is that it's unfortunate that Saudi Arabia doesn't allow free speech that is blaphemous but applaud the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for enforcing the rules?

Tell me, when the dude running the dry cleaner that doesn't speak English that well does a poor job with your pants, do you call the INS just to tip them off that they may want to double-check to make sure he's a legal immigrant?
   77. Swedish Chef Posted: February 20, 2014 at 08:25 PM (#4660017)
but we should always consider that the Phillies think they're better off by doing this.

Looking at the last five years, the theory that best fits the facts is that Amaro is deliberately running the club into the ground.
   78. Knock on any Iorg Posted: February 20, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4660018)
I can simultaneously disagree with the rules and applaud enforcement of (or compliance with) the rules. That's how I roll.

Voltaire would defend to the death your right to say that.
   79. Lars6788 Posted: February 20, 2014 at 08:58 PM (#4660026)
If people didn't hate the GM of the Phillies, would anyone care about the plight of some kid who broke the rules?

The Twitter rage has been swift and damning
   80. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4660043)
So, your position on someone guilty of blasphemy in Saudi Arabia is that it's unfortunate that Saudi Arabia doesn't allow free speech that is blaphemous but applaud the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for enforcing the rules?


Holy reductio ad Hitlerum, Batman!
   81. bobm Posted: February 20, 2014 at 10:52 PM (#4660049)
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/aj_burnett_to_phillies#4655715

My son just applied for an intern job for the the new stat guy at the Phillies. One of his questions to answer was "If you had 5M to spend on players this year, what would you do?" I guess the right answer was "Ask for 11M more and sign A. J. Burnett."


I guess the real right answer was part out-of-court settlement and part severance payments.
   82. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 20, 2014 at 11:08 PM (#4660057)
Looking at the last five years, the theory that best fits the facts is that Amaro is deliberately running the club into the ground.


You'd have to submit evidence that Amaro is intelligent enough to mastermind an evil secret plan to such complete success. Until that happens we have to go with the default assumption that Amaro is trying to be successful, but failing because he is stupid.

Fakeedit: I know "stupid" has entered the lexicon as a general term of disapproval, but here I am invoking its traditional definition: A person of low intellect.
   83. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:05 AM (#4660072)
I don't mean for that to be taken as a rebuttal, as it isn't one. I've just dealt with far too many people who will lie publicly to mask evidence of their public stupidity, and thus I am not taking a few tweets at face value. It doesn't mean that guy wasn't screwed by the Padres; it just means I don't take it as evidence of anything. Your valid point, that teams could try to take advantage of it, is noted. Their success depends on how easily the NCAA can be fooled by teams.


I don't disagree and after posting my first thought was 'that kid could be lying'. But man, if it is true, shame on the Padres. I'm still concerned that teams seem to be using it in a vengeful manner.
   84. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:20 AM (#4660075)
I won't be surprised if Wetzler has more HBP against any Phillies' minor league affiliates he pitches against, or even the big league club if he makes it that far.
   85. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:48 AM (#4660081)
I don't disagree and after posting my first thought was 'that kid could be lying'.

That "kid" just turned 29.
   86. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: February 21, 2014 at 02:08 AM (#4660098)
He is younger than my little sister, so he is a kid.

But, as Crow once said, 'What does this have to do with anything?'
   87. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 21, 2014 at 03:46 AM (#4660103)
It has everything to do with the dismissive way with which you treated his message.
   88. Scott Lange Posted: February 21, 2014 at 08:26 AM (#4660112)
Again from Aaron Fitt (the reporter who seems to be breaking this Phillies story) on Twitter, responding to a tweet from Bascom:

@TimmyBasc I do remember that -- rotten deal for you. That's a lousy way to do business.


If Fitt thinks Bascom's story is credible, then we've got Bascom and Fitt against no evidence whatsoever on the other side. Seems like an easy call, at least until someone comes up with something to contradict it.
   89. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 21, 2014 at 09:19 AM (#4660120)
Sandy Alderson was running the Padres at that time, wasn't he? It surprises me that he would do that.
   90. Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band. Posted: February 21, 2014 at 10:09 AM (#4660141)
   91. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4660223)

Holy reductio ad Hitlerum, Batman!


Public universities are trying to prevent a segment of their students from having legal representation. There should be no respect for any rule of law that denies people a basic civil right.
   92. villageidiom Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4660227)
but isnt this a distinction without a real difference? If someone tells you:

"Dont take the Phillies offer, the Pirates will prolly offer you a million more next year."

What is it? does this have to do with my INTEREST in being employed or MY DECISION? BOth?
It's information flowing your way. Nothing prohibited in getting information.

If that same someone tells the Phillies "we're not taking that offer" when you're not in the room and haven't even been told what the offer is, that's someone you've hired to get you a contract. Even if he fails at getting you that contract, the act (yes, an act!) of assigning him the right to reject offers on your behalf signals you were actively trying to get a contract.

The analogy of being a virgin to being an amateur is
NOT THE ANALOGY I WAS MAKING. I was simply referring to a status you cannot regain once you lose it. If you don't get that, you're a fool. And if you're trying to extend the comparison to ways that don't apply to a status you cannot regain once you lose it, you're wasting your time.

Tell me, when the dude running the dry cleaner that doesn't speak English that well does a poor job with your pants, do you call the INS just to tip them off that they may want to double-check to make sure he's a legal immigrant?
There's nothing about speaking poor English, nor being a bad dry cleaner, that demonstrates non-compliance with the law. But thanks for asking.
If Fitt thinks Bascom's story is credible, then we've got Bascom and Fitt against no evidence whatsoever on the other side.
If we're adding "people who think a story as credible" as hard evidence, then the Padres and the NCAA are evidence on the other side.
   93. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4660240)
It has everything to do with the dismissive way with which you treated his message.


I posted his tweets to this thread as evidence as to why this rule sucks. Look at post 59. And then it occurred to me that perhaps I should be a little bit skeptical because I was taking his word at face value. I made the grave mistake of saying "kid" when I made note of that.
   94. villageidiom Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4660322)
It's not an MLB rule, though. There's nothing in the MLB rules that prevent college juniors from hiring agents. The Phillies are not guaranteed that leverage.
Certainly they're not guaranteed that leverage, but it's just as certain that they want to maximize their leverage. I'm pretty sure they would prefer that any offer they make to a college junior is delivered to the draftee instead of being filtered by an agent. There's always the chance he agrees to the deal instead of trying to solicit advice before making a decision.

Preserving that structure gives the Phillies more leverage than if that structure is compromised. The NCAA has handed that structure to them on a silver platter, and the Phillies are, in their interest, discouraging draftees from abusing it.
   95. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 21, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4660333)
There should be no respect for any rule of law that denies people a basic civil right.


It's not a rule of law; it's a rule of a private organization. Anyone who wishes to avoid the onerous rules of the NCAA can simply choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics. I'm also not sure I'd call the right to counsel a basic civil right. It's not a Fifth Amendment right, either. It's in the Sixth Amendment, but it only applies in criminal matters.
   96. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 21, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4660355)
If you have a problem with the NCAA, you should have a problem with the Phillies using their rules just to hurt a kid.
I can simultaneously disagree with the rules and applaud enforcement of (or compliance with) the rules. That's how I roll.


I agree with Dan in 76 and 91.

The NCAA is one of the more contemptible institutions in American life, it's treatment of [big time] college "student" atheletes is nothing short of contemptible.
   97. Swedish Chef Posted: February 21, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4660369)
The NCAA has handed that structure to them on a silver platter, and the Phillies are, in their interest, discouraging draftees from abusing it.

Yes, nobody is contending that the Phillies are doing the unethical things in their own interest (well, I was in my last post, but other than that nobody has). What you seem unwilling to concede is that it is unethical to draw benefit from what is unanimously considered to be an unethical system.

An hypothetical: Phillies learn that their draft pick is closeted gay, the negotiations are unsuccessful, the Phillies phone up the parents and tell them their son is gay. Is that OK? They are only acting in their interest, that his parents may be bigoted is none of their business.

   98. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: February 21, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4660377)
Public universities are trying to prevent a segment of their students from having legal representation. There should be no respect for any rule of law that denies people a basic civil right.


Whitney Hall Drug Bust

I was one of the student body officers when this took place. The charges were dropped by the police after it came to light that the undercover officer had bought alcohol for underage students and had slept with one of the dorm residents.

However, the campus Judical Affairs Office did proceed to discipline the students, who were told that legal representation would not be allowed at the hearings. I requested a meeting with the head of the JAO and his explanation was that if the students brought in legal representation, the school would have to do so as well, and who needed that expense. No argument I made swayed him.
   99. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 21, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4660382)
It seems natural and obvious to me that at the point where you are being compensated to do whatever it is you do, then you are a professional. Before you're being compensated for it, if you are doing it for free, you are not a professional.

If you reason from this point you are forced to conclude that an athlete receiving a full scholarship to college--worth well above U.S. minimum wage at most colleges--in exchange for playing his sport there is already a professional athlete.
   100. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: February 21, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4660398)
Evidence continues to mount that Ruben Amaro Jr. is just plain unintelligent

However, his unintelligence is counterbalanced by an excess of arrogance, a delightful combination.
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