Former Philadelphia Phillies draft pick Ben Wetzler has been suspended for 11 games by the NCAA after the team accused the college pitcher of a NCAA rules violation, according to Baseball America's Aaron Fitt.
The Phillies reported to the NCAA that Wetzler had hired a financial adviser after he was picked in the fifth round by Philadelphia in the 2013 MLB Draft. Wetzler chose not to sign with the Phillies, something the organization apparently took as a slight considering that it accused the left-handed pitcher of violating the NCAA's "no-agent" rule.
The controversy is that many major league prospects -- and MLB teams themselves -- often ignore the rule, letting their advisers negotiate with the club instead. From one perspective, then, Wetzler did little wrong -- except choosing not to sign with the Phillies, a decision that might have triggered their accusation.
The timing of Philadelphia's decision is also out of the ordinary, as the college baseball season began last weekend across the country. Yet Oregon State's Vice President of University Relations, Steve Clark, told Fitt, "It is our understanding that the Phillies reported it" in November, making the whole situation even murkier.
Regardless, it is now known Wetzler will miss Oregon State's first 11 games, which is roughly 20% of the team's season.
The Phillies made a similar rules accusation of their sixth round pick in 2013, Jason Monda, who also chose not to sign with the team. However, the NCAA ruled in Monda's favor, clearing him to play for Washington State this season.
Wetzler was not so lucky, and although the NCAA has made its decision, a fair amount of bad publicity and controversy still surrounds the whole situation.