The Beaver's ace, left-hander Ben Wetzler, won't be playing. He's not injured—at least not physically.
Wetzler, who was drafted in the 5th round of last year's amateur draft, but did not sign, is being investiagted by the NCAA after the Philadelphia Phillies accused him of violating the NCAA's "no-agent" rule, according to Aaron Fitt of Baseball America.
Calling it the "no-agent" rule is borderline misleading. Major League clubs, agents, and players have long disregarded the rule, as it is the norm for advisors to negotiate on a player's behalf. It's commonplace, but technically against NCAA rules.
One source in Fitt's piece—an American League scouting director back in 2008—suggested that it would be more difficult to find a player who does not have an agent on draft day.
"Every single player that we deal with—I don’t care what round you’re talking about—has representation, has an agent," the scouting director said.
So what made the Phillies turn in Wetzler?
The club drafted Wetzler in the 5th round of last season's draft as a college junior. The two sides could not come to an agreement, however, and Wetzler decided to return to Oregon State as a senior.
It happens all the time. It's annoying for clubs, but did it draw enough venom from the Phillies for them to break one of baseball's "unwritten rules?"
The general consensus thus far has been that the Phillies burned a major bridge here. Negotiating with draft picks that have other options, such as returning to school, is difficult enough. What inspired the Phillies to violate the players' trust?
What's even more intriguing is that Wetzler isn't alone. The Phillies also reported Washington State senior Jason Monda, who was drafted by the club in the 6th round of last season's draft, but he has already been cleared to play.
The NCAA will continue to investigate the issue, with a report possible by the end of the week. Until that day, it is important to note that neither Wetzler or Monda are necessarily guilty of violating the NCAA's rule because the Phillies reported them. Further details of the investigation will become clear once the NCAA releases their findings.
Until the NCAA finishes that investigation, however, the Oregon State Beavers will be forced to compete without their top pitcher.
Baseball America asked the Phillies' scouting director, Marti Wolever, to comment on the situation, to which he briefly responded, "I have no comment."