Wichita State freshman pitcher Albert Minnis could miss half the season because his adviser made improper contact with the Atlanta Braves last summer.
WSU is waiting on a final report from the NCAA, at which time it can choose to appeal the decision. The Braves picked Minnis, a left-hander from Lawrence, in the 33rd round of the June draft.
The NCAA penalized Minnis 50 percent of the season, 28 games.
"We're waiting on that to see what their rationale was for the decision on 50 percent," WSU associate athletic director for student services Korey Torgerson said. "It's not totally over. We can't start the appeals process until we have the written report."
Multiple sources said Minnis had no knowledge of the contact between the adviser — whom Torgerson would not name — and the Braves.
"In June or July, his adviser initiated two telephone calls and four text messages with the Braves," Torgerson said. "That jeopardized his ability to be certified as an amateur. Because of the impermissible phone calls and text messages, they believe the adviser became an agent and was marketing Albert's athletic ability."
Torgerson called the contact innocuous, with the adviser asking when and if the pro team planned to watch Minnis pitch. The Braves did not offer Minnis a contract.
"The Braves never made an offer to Albert, so there were no negotiations," Torgerson said. "The adviser has basically indicated, and Albert has to, that Albert did not direct the adviser to have contact with the Braves."
WSU coach Gene Stephenson declined to comment. The Shockers begin the season on Feb. 18.
Many, but not all, drafted players use advisers. Advisers are not permitted to contact professional teams or market the athlete during contract negotiations.