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OSU Pitcher's NCAA Suspension Causes Outcry

Pete Springer/OPB

A controversy at Oregon State University underscores the on-going debate about whether college players should be treated as just students (with no compensation or representation) or as professional athletes.

Oregon State University pitcher Ben Wetzler is in hot water with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for violating draft negotiation rules. The NCAA is suspending Wetzler for 11 games — 20 percent of the season — due to his improper use of an advisor in negotiating with the Philadelphia Phillies last summer. Fans of college baseball are criticizing the NCAA, saying it’s cherry picking which players to punish.

Followers of college baseball say players use advisors regularly during draft negotiations, and that those advisors frequently violate the NCAA’s “no agent” rule. What is different about this case is that after Wetzler turned the Phillies down, opting to return to school, the Phillies allegedly turned Wetzler in to the NCAA.

The NCAA rejected OSU’s appeal to the suspension, so Wetzler sat out the full 11 games. His suspension ended on Sunday.

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