In a decision that could affect June's First-Year Player Draft, an appellate court in Ohio on Wednesday upheld an order that invalidated an NCAA rule preventing athletes from negotiating with professional baseball teams in the presence of lawyers, the New York Times reported.
The ruling was related to a lawsuit filed by Oklahoma State pitcher Andrew Oliver last fall. Oliver had been declared ineligible by Oklahoma State the previous May after the NCAA found out that Oliver had an attorney present while negotiating with the Minnesota Twins when he was in high school.
According to The Times, Erie County Judge Tygh M. Tone ruled in February that the NCAA's ban of agents should not apply to lawyers because athletes are entitled to legal representation. Tone also ruled that Oliver should be eligible fo pitch for Oklahoma State.
The NCAA appealed, stating that Tone's decision would amount to a "national class action" type of suit affecting thousands of NCAA schools and student-athletes, but the Ohio Court of Appeals ruled that the NCAA's appeal couldn't be heard until Oliver's case had concluded, The Times wrote.
The NCAA said in a statement that it still plans to appeal.
Doug Miller is reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.