Last week, the NCAA sent out a memo detailing a new rule for the collegiate athletes limiting who could represent those who wanted to “test the waters” as an early draft candidate before graduating. The new procedure has been colloquially called the “Rich Paul rule” after the super-agent who famously does not have a college degree, a distinction that would not allow future aspiring agents from representing the aforementioned athletes.
On Monday, Paul, who represents Los Angeles Lakers players LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Talen Horton-Tucker, wrote an op-ed for The Athletic, slamming the NCAA’s practice as one rooted in race and greed:
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.
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.
The entire op-ed is worth a read as you can get the perspective of someone who would be directly affected by this rule if he were not already at the helm of Klutch Sports with powerful players under his umbrella. It’s also painfully obvious that the NCAA’s rule disproportionately affects people of color while limiting their athlete’s power as the NCAA has done for effectively its entire existence.
Paul ends his piece with an inspiring message for those hoping to follow in his footsteps:
No matter the result, what I’m focused on is helping aspiring agents and players figure out the best path forward for them so they can earn a living and be blessed with opportunities like I have. Hopefully, the NCAA will help foster a system that will allow for that as well.
But no matter what the NCAA does, I want young men and women no matter their color or background to know that this shouldn’t discourage them from aspiring to be in this profession. Continue to strive for greatness; the marathon of life will continue. #MoreThanAnAgent