Kendall Rogers, the national writer, for PerfectGame.com, is reporting that a decision has been made in the Ben Wetzler eligibility fiasco, and Wetzler will apparently miss 20% of the season for engaging the counsel of an agent, though he didn't hire one, in negotiations last year with the Philadelphia Phillies, who drafted the Oregon St. lefty in the 5th round of the MLB draft after his junior season.
Wetzler elected to not sign, and the Phillies organization turned Wetzler in over the agent matter, though that's the industry standard in baseball, where, unlike in football and basketball, college players with eligibility remaining can be drafted and then decide whether to sign or continue to play, rather than having to forego their eligibility before being drafted.
20% of the season amounts to 11 games, which means Wetzler will be eligible to return for the Sunday game of next weekend's home opener series Wright St.
It's good news for the Oregon St. pitching staff, and apparently better than it could have been.
Sources have told me throughout the @NCAA had enough, per the rule, to have a greater suspension. Wetzler, though, only gets 20-percent.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogersPG) February 22, 2014
The NCAA's comments admits to unclear evidence, and acknowledges that Wetzler was not trying to circumvent any rules:
"While NCAA rules allow a student-athlete to obtain advising services about the draft and contract offers, the adviser may have no contact with a professional organization. Although the evidence was unclear, the NCAA found that Wetzler's adviser did have prohibited contact, and that a violation of the ‘spirit' of the NCAA bylaw occurred. It was clear from the beginning, however, that there was no intent on the part of Ben Wetzler to circumvent the rules. He was trying to do the right thing."
Oregon State proposed a self-imposed penalty on Wetzler of 10 % of the season's games, and requested Wetzler be reinstated last Tuesday, while the NCAA originally wanted a 50% of the season suspension.
Settling on 20% is clearly on Oregon St.'s side of the middle, though rules revisions that are clearly needed that would have prevented the entire escapade is the real corrective action that's in order.
Head Coach Pat Casey was far from satisfied with the outcome.
"I am extremely disappointed in the circumstances surrounding this particular case. I believe the sanction is much too harsh," Casey said.
Wetzler is 24-6 all-time, and went 10-1 with a 2.25 ERA last season, and was named All-Pac-12.