LeBron James' agent, Rich Paul, rips the NCAA for its 'Rich Paul Rule' requiring agents to have college degrees

NBA agent Rich Paul penned an op-ed that published at The Athletic on Monday firing back at the NCAA and its new "Rich Paul Rule" that requires agents to have a bachelor's degree, among other new prerequisites, before representing student-athletes in the predraft process who may want to return to school.

Paul is a major player in the athlete representation business -- he founded Klutch Sports Group and represents a number of high-profile athletes including LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Ben Simmons. So his op-ed, in which he expressed concern over the new barriers to entry not for himself but for the next agent looking to become the next Rich Paul, carries plenty of weight in the world of athlete-representation and the NCAA.

"The harmful consequences of this decision will ricochet onto others who are trying to break in," Paul wrote in the op-ed for The Athletic. "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," Paul wrote. "However, requiring a four-year degree accomplishes only one thing -- systematically excluding those who come from a world where college is unrealistic."

Paul famously broke in to becoming a super-agent despite never having his bachelor's degree, making him ineligible to meet the NCAA's new standards. Because he has famously clashed with the NCAA -- he represents Darius Bazley, who spurned college for the G League, and described the system once as "broken" -- the colloquialism of the "Rich Paul Rule" was borne. Whether or not it was a direct response to Paul, though, is unclear. There are many people looking to break into athlete-representation, and ironically, Paul isn't likely to be impacted by the new legislation.

"To be honest, I have no idea whether the NCAA adopted the new rule specifically because of my work with Darius Bazley, as people have speculated, or if it is because they know there are more and more people like me fighting for their chance and challenging this antiquated system," Paul wrote.

As for fixing the newly-implemented rules, which went effective Aug. 1, 2019, Paul offered up some tips:

"Why [doesn't the NCAA] partner with universities on a one-year program for agents who don't meet their requirements but want to learn the business? Or work with existing agents who play by the rules to help mentor those who are trying to 'break in?'" Paul wrote. 

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