FYI: The NCAA is still trying to screw amateur athletes

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Despite the fact that it had once been held to be illegal and will likely be held to be illegal again when someone else challenges it, the NCAA’s rule prohibiting amateur athletes from having an attorney make direct contact with a pro sports team is still on the books. This means that if you’re a 17 year-old draftee and you want to negotiate with the New York Yankees, you have to do it yourself rather than have a lawyer or agent do it unless you want to lose all college eligibility.

Because that’s really fair and everything.

I’ve been railing against this rule for years, but today Jordan Kobritz takes a nice vitriol-filled swipe at it over at the Biz of Baseball which is worth your time.  The occasion: apparently the Pirates, the Padres and other clubs have complained that they had to talk to skilled lawyers rather than 17 year old ballplayers while trying to negotiate contracts during the signing period that recently ended. If those complaints go anywhere, the students in question could be disqualified from playing college ball.

I’d quote Vonnegut and suggest that the NCAA can do something with respect to a rolling doughnut, but this is a family site and I’d prefer not to use that kind of language.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.