Wichita State announced today that freshman lefthander Albert Minnis has been suspended for 50 percent of the 2011 season (30 games) for violating the NCAA's "no agent" rule. He began serving the suspension on Feb. 18 when the season began, so he will be eligible to play on April 6 against Alcorn State. The Shockers came to Minnis' defense, but the NCAA's Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement rejected the school's appeal on his behalf.
"Wichita State University is extremely disappointed for Albert Minnis and the Wichita State baseball program," director of athletics Eric Exton said in a statement. "Albert is an upstanding individual whose amateurism was compromised by his adviser. The University presented a strong case on Albert's behalf and it is disappointed in the outcome."
That's the news, now the takeaway. The NCAA's inconsistency and hypocrisy when it comes to applications of the "no agent" rule never cease to gall. For one thing, it makes no sense that Nebraska's Logan Ehlers and Minnis received different punishments for the same violation, under very similar circumstances (Ehlers was suspended for 60 percent of the season). According to Wichita State's release, Minnis never explicitly gave his adviser permission to speak with major league clubs on his behalf, but the NCAA ruled that he violated Bylaw 12.3.1 when his advisor initiated two phone calls and four text messages with a Braves scout after Atlanta drafted him in the 33rd round last year. The adviser did not negotiate on his behalf; the conversations related to when Minnis would pitch and how he performed when he did pitch.
That is, indeed, a violation of the "no agent" rule, but as we've written over and over again, that rule is trampled upon by nearly every college player who is drafted, every single year. Put aside the uneven enforcement of that arcane rule—most of the time, the NCAA simply cannot enforce the rule, because players and agents and major league clubs all lie out of necessity to protect players' eligibility. This is simple fact—it's how the baseball industry works.
What is truly baffling is the juxtaposition of Minnis' case with that of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. Somehow, the NCAA accepted Newton's ignorance of his father's solicitation of gifts as a defense, but it did not accept Minnis' ignorance of his adviser's contact with the Braves as a defense. That simply makes no sense. (For more on this, subscribers can read Jim Callis' column.)
But when it comes to the "no agent" rule and baseball, the NCAA seldom does make sense.
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