"The NCAA makes its own rules and can do what it wants to do"

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James Paxton is a left-handed pitcher for the University of Kentucky. He was taken with the 37th overall pick by the Blue Jays in the draft last summer. He decided that he’d rather return for his senior year, however, and did so.

Beginning in October, the NCAA started contacting UK about Paxton. It’s still unclear what about, but they wanted to talk with him, and right now most signs point to something to do with the draft. Maybe he talked to an agent. Who knows? UK wouldn’t tell Paxton what it was about. All they’d do was to hint that (a) it was something involving Paxton’s eligibility; (b) that he couldn’t tell his parents or his lawyer about the interview, nor could they participate; and (c) if he didn’t participate, he was going to be suspended. Heck, maybe he’d be suspended even if he did participate.

Yeah, that’s a lawsuit. Right now it just involves UK, but it will likely involve the NCAA itself eventually, because it appears as though that august institution is once again acting as a law unto itself.

How so: Paxton’s lawyer — the one he was consulting with back in October, not the one who filed the lawsuit — says in an affidavit that the UK athletic director told him that “the NCAA made its own rules and could do whatever it wanted,” and that the NCAA investigator “had [Paxton’s] life in his hands.” The picture that is painted by the suit (which you can view here) is that the NCAA was putting the screws to UK, who in turn put the screws to Paxton. In a lot of ways UK was probably caught in the middle, being threatened by the NCAA with forfeited games and sanctions and stuff if they didn’t treat a student athlete like he was a character in a Kafka novel.

Looming over all of this is the now-settled Andrew Oliver lawsuit from earlier this year. You’ll recall that case as the one in which the Oklahoma State pitcher sued the
NCAA — and got a lot of favorable rulings before the NCAA paid him off — claiming that its rules against players consulting with agents and lawyers were, you know, super illegal.

But the most notable thing about that case was not the rule itself — which is technically back on the books, just waiting to be shot down again — but the NCAA’s utter arrogance throughout the case. They had contempt motions filed against them and, even when the rule was enjoined by the trial judge, they kept sending out letters to students threatening them with that very rule.  You know, acting like it made its own rules and could do whatever it wanted.

Know this much: for this lawsuit, Paxton has the same lawyer that Andy Oliver had. His email address has the word “Piranha” in it.  In other words: get ready to get creamed again, NCAA.

Phillies’ ace Nola loses no-hitter in seventh, wins game 8-3 over Tigers

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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PHILADELPHIA – Aaron Nola took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out 12, Trea Turner homered twice among his four hits to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to their third straight win, 8-3 over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

Nola (5-4) fanned 10 and had faced the minimum through six as he tried to pitch the Phillies’ first no-hitter since 2015. The ace right-hander ran into trouble in the seventh when two batters reached on a walk and a fielding error. Nola still had two outs when he hung an 0-2 breaking ball to Nick Maton and the former Phillie crushed one into right to make it a 5-3 game.

Maton’s bat-flip homer was the only hit allowed by Nola. He walked three over seven innings.

Seranthony Domínguez and Andrew Vasquez each tossed a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.

Nola walked Jake Marisnick with two outs in the third inning but the outfielder was out at first base on a caught stealing by catcher J.T. Realmuto. Nola walked Maton with one out in the fifth but the baserunner was erased after Eric Haase hit into an inning-ending double play.

Nola threw 68 of 108 pitches for strikes in front of 33,196 fans. Nola, who recorded two strikeouts on automatic strike three calls, has now pitched at least six innings in each of hit last 10 starts.

He improved to 83-66 in a career spent all with the Phillies since his debut in 2015. The right-handed ace is a free agent at the end of the season. Nola and the Phillies tabled contract talks in spring training, with no plans to resume until the offseason.

Nola’s no-no stalled, too.

There have been no no-hitters in the majors this season, the first since Major League Baseball introduced a pitch clock. There were a record nine in 2021 and four last year.

The Phillies returned home from a 4-6 road trip in search of some last season’s June success that squashed a miserable start and led them to the NL championship. So far, so good. The Phillies won the last two games in Washington and kept the wins coming at home. They scored one run in each of the first three innings on Turner’s RBI single, Nick Castellanos’ run-scoring double, and Turner’s solo shot in the third.

Bryce Harper added an RBI single in the fifth. Turner connected the same inning off Tigers starter Joey Wentz (1-6) for his seventh homer of the season and first multi-homer game with the Phillies.

Turner has slumped in the first season of an 11-year, $300 million deal. He hit just .143 on the road trip but now has three homers in his last two home games.

VETERAN MOVE

Tigers DH Miguel Cabrera, who has said he will retire at the end of the season, is the last active player who played at Veterans Stadium. The Phillies last played in their now-razed former stadium in 2003. He played six games at the Vet in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. The Phillies will honor Cabrera before Wednesday’s game.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: LHP José Alvarado (left elbow inflammation) is set to make a rehab appearance in Double-A Reading. … CF Cristian Pache (right meniscus tear) is “swinging and missing quite a bit,” according to manager Rob Thomson, in his minor league rehab games.

UP NEXT

The Phillies send RHP Taijuan Walker (4-3, 5.65 ERA) to the mound. The Tigers did not name a starter.