Rich Paul Responds To NCAA’s “Rich Paul Rule”

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.

[UPDATE: NCAA Adjusts Agent Certification Requirements]

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.

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21 thoughts on “Rich Paul Responds To NCAA’s “Rich Paul Rule”

  1. carlos15

    I don’t want a guy who can’t get a degree in anything related to finance negotiating my contract. That’s just kinda common sense. But that’s me, if someone else wants anyone to go in there and represent them without any idea how contract language, finance, taxes etc…work, than have fun.

    • dust44

      Seems to me that Rich Paul is doing pretty well for his clients. For someone who “doesn’t have a degree in finance”. This is 100% the NCAA trying to put a stop to the kids heading overseas or whatever. The Darius Bazley situation with Rich Paul getting him a mill to “intern” a year instead of be exploited by the NCAA. This is exactly the type of short sided views the NCAA a supposed amateur sports organization who profits off the backs of these kids r taking. Yes, college is expensive and most r there for free. But in the long run the NCAA is making ALOT of money and it won’t stop until someone does something about it. It will really take 10-15 of the top kids just deciding to go make money overseas instead of show up on campus.

    • Rewane

      The things you mentioned at the end can be learned without a degree.

      • Reflect

        Literally everything in the universe can be learned without a degree. What’s your point?

        • Rewane

          Let the players decide whether they want the agent or not. Blocking agents who focused on these certain skills instead of learning a ton of unrelated stuff in college is weird.

          • x%sure

            How do you know they focussed on these certain skills or even have them?

    • southbeachbully

      @carlos15 The agent doesn’t neccesarily get involved with the specific deals related to financing. Regardless, all NBA contracts have set financial limitations as to what the player can earn anyway. But most agents have a backroom full of people that specialize in specific parts of a players contract and business in general.

      But it’s not like Paul came out of HS and became an agent anyway. He mentored under LBJ’s then agent Leon Rose, and part of LBJ leaving to sign with CAA was taking Paul with him and being officially mentored/trained to get his license and accreditation.

  2. x%sure

    Organizations are allowed to require college degrees for entry… Especially ones that are in the business of handing them out.

    • southbeachbully

      @x%sure Here’s the obvious thing that’s blatantly wrong here. Why should the NCAA have ANY role on what these players do once they decide to go pro? The NBA is the one that has to deal with agents but they no there’s no way in hell that they can get that approved by the Player’s Union, who has a direct role in agents anyway. So the NBA has the NCAA do it for them because there’s not an organization they have to answer to. Doesn’t it reek of that? Why would the NCAA with students who aren’t getting paid have a role in this? So all this time the NBA was cool with agents not having a degree but the NCAA wants better than what the NBA accepts already?

      • x%sure

        The rule is not about players who turn pro– it’s about players that don’t. Specifically, “testing the water” players. Of course one stage leads to another… But these players need accurate advisement, not a con job by someone after that 10% fee before someone else gets it.

        New NBPA agent Trinity Best was launched by his first client Nic Claxton, formerly of UGeorgia and #31 pick of the Nets. He tweeted about his new status, “excited to help kids pursue their dreams of playing professionally. While I will continue to cover HS and college basketball… Helping kids to be better men through basketball…” (@bballtrinity). One can guess what Best’s advice to Claxton was! His excitment showed in all the photos of Claxton putting pen to paper on twitter (@bballtrinity), making him rich.

        As a society lets leave the job of kids’s development to coaches. Trinity Best looks/sounds unsavory to me.

  3. LordBanana

    So you need a bachelor’s degree to advise college basketball players but you don’t need one to advise baseball or hockey players. Hmm…..

    • tharrie0820

      Idk about hockey players, but baseball players don’t actually have to declare for the draft

  4. iamoldboy

    100% agreement with Paul. It’s 2019, the vast majority of degrees are useless for anything anyway… Plus the ridiculous student loans that destroy the future for most.

    • amk3510

      Yeah taking a loan to pay for college is the worst thing you can do. Id trust Paul more than these kids that put themselves in financial debt to get a degree.

  5. maddog32

    I’m totally fine with players wanting to use agents without a degree when testing the draft waters as long as those same players are fine with using medical staff and doctors who don’t also have degrees. Because you know there are no doctors in the country that came from a tough financial situation and if a doctor has no desire to get a degree, why should they be required to before they fix an ACL tear???

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