NCAA amends ‘Rich Paul rule’ for agents of draft hopefuls

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Rich Paul doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree. Rich Paul is an effective NBA agent.

That was the common (and too simplistic) response to the NCAA’s new regulations for agents representing players testing the water of the NBA draft. Even Paul said the rule wouldn’t affect him – while railing against it. The rule is problematic because it blocks future potential agents who come from untraditional backgrounds.

After getting hammered, the NCAA will allow agents to bypass the bachelor’s-degree requirement if they are “currently certified and in good standing with the NBPA.”

NCAA release:

We are committed to providing student-athletes who are deciding whether to stay in school or explore NBA draft options with access to a wide array of resources to make their decision. NCAA member schools developed the new agent certification process to accomplish that goal and reflect our higher education mission. However, we have been made aware of several current agents who have appropriately represented former student-athletes in their professional quest and whom the National Basketball Players Association has granted waivers of its bachelor’s degree requirement. While specific individuals were not considered when developing our process, we respect the NBPA’s determination of qualification and have amended our certification criteria.

This is how the NCAA works. It does whatever it wants. It backs down if it receives enough backlash.

Because the public was too focused on Paul, the NCAA/established agents will still get away with the application fee and three-years-experience requirement. This is a cash grab by the NCAA, and established agents still benefit from the barrier to entry for potential competitors. The rule is not good now. It’s just less bad.

Once again, I have yet to see a good argument why the National Basketball Players Association agent-certifications requirements shouldn’t be sufficient.