NCAA amends ‘Rich Paul Rule’ amid backlash

NCAA Rich Paul
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) and his agent, Rich Paul, were outspoken against the NCAA's decision to enforce a bachelor's degree requirement to represent basketball players. (Rhona Wise/EPA-EFE file photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (UPI) — The NCAA amended its week-old certification process for agents representing pro-bound basketball players amid backlash over its bachelor’s degree requirement.

The NCAA announced Monday that agents who don’t have a bachelor’s degree will instead have to be in good standing with the National Basketball Players Association.

“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,” the NCAA said in a statement.

“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.”

The NCAA issued a memo to agents last week, outlining new requirements that included a bachelor’s degree, NBPA certification for at least three years, professional liability insurance and completion of an in-person exam at the NCAA office in Indianapolis.

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The new requirements came under heavy criticism because some current NBA agents didn’t obtain a bachelor’s degree. The degree requirement led some to refer to it as the “Rich Paul Rule.”

Paul, who currently represents the likes of Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Ben Simmons and Draymond Green, began working with James after high school and didn’t graduate from college.

Oklahoma City Thunder star guard Chris Paul and James criticized the NCAA’s new requirements on social media.

In the original memo, the NCAA said it implemented the new set of rules “to protect the collegiate eligibility” of student-athletes.

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“While specific individuals were not considered when developing our process, we respect the NBPA’s determination of qualification and have amended our certification criteria,” the NCAA said in Monday’s statement.

Reporting by Connor Grott

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