The NCAA actually folded under the pressure.
Last week, the NCAA dropped a new rule requiring players to hire agents with a four-year degree in order to test NBA waters and maintain their eligibility. The rule was immediately dubbed the “Rich Paul” rule, since he does not have a four-year degree and is currently one of the most powerful agents in the entire NBA.
On Monday, Rich Paul finally responded to the rule, stating it will prevent people like him—those from disadvantaged backgrounds and people of color—from taking an alternative path to representing players.
“Requiring a four-year degree accomplishes only one thing — systematically excluding those who come from a world where college is unrealistic,” Paul wrote. “Does anyone really believe a four-year degree is what separates an ethical person from a con artist?
“Let’s also be clear that once the NCAA requires a four-year degree for athletes ‘testing the waters,’ it’s only a matter of time until this idea is socialized, no longer questioned, and then more broadly applied. We all know how this works. Unfair policy is introduced incrementally so people accept it because it only affects a small group. Then the unfair policy quietly evolves into institutional policy. I’m not sure what the technical term is for that because I didn’t finish college but I know it when I see it.”
Hours after that article dropped, the NCAA amended the new rule and stated they no longer require agents to have a bachelor’s degree.
It reads as:
“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.”
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