Phillies and NCAA make college player's life harder because of stupid rules and pettiness
Apparently the Phillies felt differently in this case. As first reported by Aaron Fitt of Baseball America, the Phillies turned in Wetzler to the NCAA for negotiating through an agent. The NCAA has responded by suspending Wetzler 20 percent of the season.
If one is only used to college football and basketball rules, this feels like an open and shut case, but in baseball it's more complicated than that. Because draft eligibility is fluid and doesn't involved officially declaring, it is possible and frequent that players get drafted, don't sign, and return to school. That's why in most cases you hear about super agents like Scott Boras, they are officially an "adviser" and not an agent. Usually, everyone looks the other way on this, and they should, because it's basic fairness. The team has plenty of high priced and talented lawyers negotiating contracts with these 18-21 year old kids. Why shouldn't the kid have someone with negotiating experience in their corner? If the authorities didn't look the other way, then the players would be at a significant negotiating disadvantage.
That's what's make the Phillies's actions so galling, because what have you gained? All they've done is put a sour taste in the mouths of future draftees. It's using your might to be a jerk towards a college kid. That'll play well. The NCAA for once looks better that the ballclub, because only 20% of the season is probably as low as the letter of their stupid rule allows. Oregon State, per Fitt, in their statement even called for the NCAA to take a look at these rules.
The Phillies for their part issued a statement, which is a world class effort in saying nothing:
"The Phillies did participate in the NCAA investigation and a ruling has been issued. We believe it is inappropriate to comment further on either the negotiation with the player or the action taken by the NCAA.”
The desperate incompetence of a failing front office continues. It's too bad this time there's collateral damage to the kid who only did what any amateur draftee does.