Paxton leaves UK baseball team



Senior lefthanded pitcher James Paxton has left the UK baseball team nearly three months after initially filing a lawsuit against the university on Dec. 2, UK athletics confirmed in a statement late Friday night.

“The University of Kentucky is very disappointed in James Paxton’s decision to not meet with the NCAA about a potential amateurism issue,” UK athletics said in the statement. “No one wanted James on the mound in a Kentucky uniform more than UK head coach Gary Henderson, athletics director Mitch Barnhart and the UK Athletics staff. Due to the possibility of future penalties, including forfeiture of games, UK could not put the other 32 players of the team and the entire UK 22-sport intercollegiate athletics department at risk by having James compete. It’s about the team and giving student-athletes the opportunity to achieve their goals. Throughout the process, UK has remained confident that James would be able to pitch for Kentucky during the 2010 season and UK offered every bit of assistance to aid James in that NCAA process.”

In the lawsuit, Paxton sought an injunction that would have allowed him to play baseball for UK this season without submitting to an interview with NCAA investigators. It is believed the NCAA wishes to speak to Paxton about his relationship with MLB agent Scott Boras. In a Canadian newspaper article, an executive with the Toronto Blue Jays, who drafted Paxton in the 2009 MLB draft, said Boras negotiated with the team instead of Paxton and his family. If true, that would be a violation of NCAA rules.

Paxton’s request for an injunction that would have allowed him to play without submitting to an interview was denied on Jan. 15 by a Fayette County Circuit Court judge, and his appeal to the Kentucky Court of Appeals was denied on Jan. 27. Paxton had been weighing his options since then.

Attempts to reach Paxton on Saturday were unsuccessful.