When the NCAA announced last Tuesday that it was instituting new guidelines and criteria for the agents who are permitted to represent prospects testing the draft waters, multiple players dubbed it the “Rich Paul Rule.” Among the NCAA’s new rules? Agents representing players who test the draft waters must hold a bachelor’s degree.
In an op-ed today for The Athletic, Paul responded to the NCAA’s announcement, weighing in with his thoughts on the changes. The subscription site opened up Paul’s column to all readers, and it’s worth checking out in full.
According to Paul, it’s not accurate to refer to the new agent criteria as the Rich Paul Rule: “It has no impact on me or the business of Klutch Sports Group.” However, Paul adamantly opposes the changes and believes the NCAA should be called out for them.
“The harmful consequences of this decision will ricochet onto others who are trying to break in,” Paul wrote. “NCAA executives are once again preventing young people from less prestigious backgrounds, and often people of color, from working in the system they continue to control. In this case, the people being locked out are kids who aspire to be an agent and work in the NBA and do not have the resources, opportunity, or desire to get a four-year degree.”
Paul added that he’s not opposed to the idea that would-be agents should have three years of experience before representing an NCAA player who is testing the draft market, and he doesn’t think it’s a bad idea to have agents pass an exam. However, he’s against the idea of requiring a four-year degree, since that’s not financially feasible for everyone with aspirations of breaking into athlete representation.
“Does anyone really believe a four-year degree is what separates an ethical person from a con artist?” Paul asked hypothetically.
Paul, who represents LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and many other NBA players, suggests that the NCAA should work with established agents to help mentor aspiring agents, or partner with universities on “a one-year program for agents who don’t meet their requirements but want to learn the business.” His full op-ed can be read here.