Paxton loses injuction; could make decision on appeal within 10 days



After a marathon court day on Friday — a two-hour hearing Friday morning followed by a six hour afternoon hearing that lasted close to 10 p.m. — James Paxton and his attorneys could not convince a Fayette County Circuit Court judge to grant a temporary injunction allowing Paxton to play this season without submitting to an NCAA interview one of Paxton’s lawyers said.

Richard Johnson, who previously won a similar case against the NCAA with former Oklahoma State pitcher Andy Oliver, said many things could have factored into Judge James Ishmael’s decision — including a 12-hour workday that ended late Friday night. But in the end, after winning an earlier motion that UK brought to dismiss the case, Paxton and Co. could not convince the judge that Paxton should play without submitting to an interview.

Now, Johnson and his fellow attorneys could make a decision within a week to 10 days on whether or not to appeal, Johnson said.

The second afternoon session included testimony from Paxton, UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, Sandy Bell and UK head baseball coach Gary Henderson, among others. Paxton described how he turned down a $1 million signing bonus and a major league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays to return to UK and how he is currently projected to be drafted anywhere from 5th to 24th in the next year’s MLB draft.

“I gave up a lot to come back here,” Paxton said. “I’m feeling let down they’re not on my side.”

Despite Paxton and his attorney’s best efforts, testimony from Barnhart and Bell, citing their obligations to the NCAA and referencing previous cases against the University of Memphis and University of Alabama regarding ineligible players and penalties for playing those players against the respective schools led Ishmael to rule in favor of the university.

“It’s not just about James, it’s about students across the nation who don’t have due process before they’re suspended,” Johnson said in a phone interview.

Paxton’s eligibility has been called into question by the NCAA due to an article on a Toronto newspaper’s Web site quoting a Blue Jays’ front office executive saying he dealt exclusively with Scott Boras, a well-known baseball agent who served as an adviser to Paxton during negotiations. If that is indeed true, it would be an NCAA violation.