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Oliver v. NCAA

Erie County Court of Common Pleas, State of Ohio
920 N.E.2d 203 (2009)


Facts

Andrew Oliver (plaintiff) was the primary baseball pitcher at Vermilion High School in Erie County, Ohio. Prior to graduation, Oliver and his family retained the services of Robert M. Baratta, Tim Baratta, and Icon Sports Group (Icon), as sports advisors and attorneys. Later that summer, Oliver and his father, along with attorney Tim Baratta, met with representatives from the Minnesota Twins team at their home. The major league baseball team offered Oliver $390,000 to join the organization, but at the urging of his father, Oliver declined and, instead chose to attend Oklahoma State University (OSU) on a full scholarship to play baseball. During his freshman and sophomore years at OSU, Oliver never received any invoices from Baratta or Icon requesting payment for services rendered. After Oliver terminated the Barattas and Icon and retained Boras Corporation as his representative, Oliver received a bill for $113,750 from the Barattas for legal services rendered. Additionally, the Barattas mailed, faxed, and e-mailed a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (defendant) complaining about Oliver and disclosing the meeting with the Minnesota Twins held at Oliver’s home. Consequently, Oliver was suspended indefinitely form playing baseball for violating NCAA rules. Oliver filed suit against the NCAA seeking a temporary injunction reinstating his eligibility to play for OSU. The trial court granted the temporary injunction. Despite the court’s order allowing reinstatement of Oliver, OSU petitioned directly to the NCAA thereafter to reinstate Oliver’s eligibility.  Thereafter, Oliver was suspended for one year and charged with a year of eligibility by the NCAA. The penalty was later reduced to 70 percent of the original suspension and no loss of eligibility for Oliver. Oliver then sought a permanent injunction from the court preventing enforcement of NCAA’s rules and reinstating his eligibility to play baseball at OSU.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Tone, J.)

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