The NCAA announced a new rule on Tuesday that puts a number of different stipulations on what agents are allowed to represent potential NBA draft picks without them losing their eligibility for testing the waters of the draft process.
Currently, underclassmen can enter the draft process, but provided they drop out of the draft by a certain date, can return to school. It was a rule put in place to try and keep players from just entering the draft pool on bad advice and having no fallback option to return to college, and was widely praised. Naturally, the NCAA couldn’t help but ruin that by now placing new stipulations on who can and cannot represent those players that want to potentially return to school.
The rule requires agents to take an in-person test in Indianapolis (that, of course, costs money) to be NCAA certified, but the part that raised the most eyebrows was the inclusion of a “bachelors degree” as a requirement. Arguably the most notable NBA agent right now, Rich Paul, famously doesn’t have a college degree, and many saw this as a direct effort to punish him, as many agents in the league apparently aren’t fans of Paul’s. Whether it was to hurt Paul or future Rich Paul types — that is to say, people that come into the agenting business via their relationship with players — there are some issues with the new rule.
Unsurprisingly, LeBron James had something to say about the rule, which many including James are dubbing the “Rich Paul Rule,” noting that it won’t stop the movement they’ve started.
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop! They BIG MAD 😡 and Scared 😱. Nothing will stop this movement and culture over here. Sorry! Not sorry. 😁✌🏾
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 6, 2019
Paul has become the agent most associated with the new “player empowerment” movement, given his representation of LeBron and most recently his handling of the Anthony Davis trade request. It’s clear LeBron and others see this as some form of retaliation from the powers that be to try and punish him in some way.
Paul, however, will be fine. The players he’s representing aren’t the ones looking to go back to school. However, it does limit who can have access to being an agent for those fringe players and that is likely the intended outcome. Hopefully there is strong push back from the agent community, established and not, against this, and the NCAA is forced to make some needed changes.