Baseball America’s Teddy Cahill reports that the NCAA recently made a very important change in way it treats high school baseball draftees. Cahill writes:
High school players who are drafted will now be allowed to have an agent negotiate for them with major league clubs before enrolling in college without affecting their NCAA eligibility, following a vote Friday at the NCAA Convention.
As Cahill notes, the measure passed by a tally of 75-2.
Consider this a very belated change on the part of the NCAA. Heretofore, a high school player was only permitted to have an “advisor” but not an agent. Said prep draftee was not allowed to accept any benefits from the advisor, and the advisor was not allowed to negotiate with the drafting team or even be present alongside the player’s family during negotiations. As well, the player couldn’t contract with the advisor, even for the future, and the advisor could not organize workouts with MLB teams on behalf of the player. If any of those things happened, then the NCAA had grounds to strip the player of his college eligibility.
To call this system “antiquated” would be to imply that it ever served any purpose other than to economically hamstring the player in question. The system obviously incented players to work around the regulations if they (wisely) decided they didn’t want to engage in asymmetrical negotiations with a major-league franchise. It’s a good thing that things have changed, but the advisor-agent distinction on the NCAA’s part never should have existed in the first place.