CLEMSON -- Prospects like Drew Cisco of Wando High and Kyle Parker of Clemson already have difficult decisions to make pertaining to Major League Baseball's draft, which begins Monday.
Cisco will likely have to choose between beginning a minor-league odyssey or a scholarship with Georgia. Parker is a top-50 baseball prospect and the starting quarterback for Clemson's football team.
The process for many high-profile baseball prospects has been made more difficult by the NCAA's crackdown on its "no agent" policy.
Players are permitted to have advisors who can offer counsel. They are not allowed agents who negotiate with pro clubs, or agents present for monetary discussions.
While the rule has been longstanding, it has also rarely been enforced in baseball until recent seasons.
In 2008, Oklahoma State pitcher Andrew Oliver was ruled ineligible for allegedly dealing with an agent, a ruling that was later overturned. This spring, Kentucky suspended pitcher James Paxton after Paxton refused to cooperate with an NCAA investigation, regarding a report his advisor, Scott Boras, had contact with a Toronto Blue Jays official. Toronto made Paxton the 37th overall pick in 2009, but Paxton elected to return to school.
Parker said he has been cautious when seeking counsel.
"With my situation being really unique, I'm just being careful," Parker said. "There are a lot of things I could have done, agent and advisor-wise that would get me in trouble. I just try to stay on the safe side and be wise about everything."
Cisco's father, Jeff Cisco, is a former minor league player and says the NCAA's recent crackdown has not impacted his family, because in his experience advisors play a limited role.
"Clubs have their area scouts and their jobs are to evaluate," said Cisco, whose son Mike went through the draft process after playing at South Carolina. "Once they come up with a value, it's not like an advisor is going to change that."
Still, Baseball America college writer Aaron Fitt says advisors often play a more active role than the NCAA would prefer.
"Simply put, they act as agents," Fitt said. "They are not supposed to negotiate with teams … but they all do it, across the board, it's a fact. The NCAA puts its head in the sand and pretends it's not how it works. There is no way to enforce it unless a media report (surfaces), or someone turns someone in. It's arbitrary and unfair."
This season Baseball America has decided to stop publishing a list of advisors who represent prospects, which will protect players.
"The more money college baseball makes the more the NCAA decides to pay attention to it," Baseball America's John Manuel said. "They are enforcing rules they didn't use to enforce."
Football and basketball prospects are also barred from having agents before turning pro. But the NFL and NBA drafts are also completely different processes than baseball's draft.
The NFL and NBA drafts occur out of season, offer scouting combines and evaluations for prospects to gain better sense of their draft status -- and economic fortunes -- before officially forgoing amateur eligibility.
In baseball, the draft occurs in midseason. There is no combine. There are no advisory boards.
Also in baseball, there is not a hard slotting system.
In the NFL and NBA, rookie salaries are either preset or based of the previous year's signing bonus for a respective pick. In baseball, players are routinely signed for above MLB's recommended bonus for their draft slot, making negotiation more important.
Manuel expects draft reform to be a major topic during negotiations for baseball's next collective bargaining agreement.
"You are not supposed to negotiate, but these are multi-million dollar corporations and you are basically not even allowed to have legal counsel," Manuel said. "I just think it is kind of amazing."