Rich Paul, the longtime friend and agent of LeBron James, was seemingly the inspiration behind an NCAA rule that requires any agent who wishes to represent a student-athlete to have a bachelor’s degree. Paul represents a number of high-profile NBA stars and is one of the most powerful agents in the game, but the new NCAA rule would limit his ability to land big name clients directly out of college.
The rule led to plenty of criticism, but Paul has remained silent.
That has all changed now, however, with Paul finally responding to the controversial rule in an op-ed with The Athletic.
“The harmful consequences of this decision will ricochet onto others who are trying to break in,” Paul said. “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. I actually support requiring three years of experience before representing a kid testing the market. I can even get behind passing a test.
“However, requiring a four-year degree accomplishes only one thing — systematically excluding those who come from a world where college is unrealistic. Does anyone really believe a four-year degree is what separates an ethical person from a con artist?”
According to the NCAA, agents must:
- Have a bachelor’s degree;
- Have been NBPA certified for at least three consecutive years and be in good-standing;
- Maintain professional liability insurance.
Paul, the founder of Klutch Sports, represents LeBron, Anthony Davis, and a number of other big-name NBA stars. Because of Paul, there has been a shift in dynamics that brings power to the players, who have been more open about demanding trades to land at their preferred destinations.
Because of the success he has had throughout his career, we have a hard time believing he won’t continue to be one of the most powerful agents in the game no matter who tries to stop him.