An Ohio court denied on Friday the NCAA’s motion to dismiss Andrew Oliver’s lawsuit against it, but ordered Oliver to include Oklahoma State as a co-defendant, according to public court documents. Barring a settlement (which seems increasingly unlikely after Monday’s unsuccessful mediation session before a retired federal judge), the case will go to trial on Jan. 5.
The previous week, Oliver was suspended for a year by the NCAA, and it’s hard to imagine him settling unless the NCAA reduces the punishment to something more in line with the six-game punishment Jeremy Sowers received in 2002 for a very similar violation. But the NCAA is digging in its heels, refusing to consider Oklahoma State’s appeal of the one-year punishment, according a source with knowledge of the situation. It seems unlikely that the NCAA would benefit from this case going to trial, where its jarringly arbitrary and uneven application of its draconian and widely ignored "no agent" rule would be subject to public and legal scrutiny. But after enduring six months of legal wrangling for violating a rule that is trampled upon by nearly every legitimate baseball draft prospect, Oliver might not be willing to settle with the NCAA at all, regardless of any reduced punishment.
Oliver’s attorney, Richard Johnson, could not comment per the court-issued gag order. We’ll continue to monitor this situation closely and provide updates as they become available.
A rising junior, Oliver is 13-3, 3.23 in two seasons for the Cowboys and projects as a first-round pick if he emerges from his NCAA ordeal as the same pitcher he in 2008, when he struck out 96 in 98 innings.
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