Remember last week when the NCAA announced a new rule requiring agents to have a bachelor’s degree to represent student-athletes? The “Rich Paul Rule” was quickly and soundly booed, and after Paul himself took the NCAA to the woodshed in an op-ed for The Athletic this morning, the NCAA has thrown in the towel.
The organization just announced it has amended the rule so that student-athletes can be represented by agents who “have a bachelor’s degree and/or are currently certified and in good standing with the NBA Players Association.” Agents must also have been certified by the NBPA for a minimum of three consecutive years, maintain professional liability insurance, complete the NCAA qualification exam, and pay the required fees.
The NCAA claims “specific individuals were not considered” when they developed the new rule but the writing is on the wall. This morning, Paul — who represents LeBron James, Anthony Davis, John Wall, and Ben Simmons and does not have a bachelor’s degree — outlined why the requirement was so bad, arguing that it targets those who don’t have the means to go to college.
The harmful consequences of this decision will ricochet onto others who are trying to break in. 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.
Shoutout to the NCAA for getting it right for once…even if they got some egg on their face.