The NCAA is at it again. No, not with amazing March Madness tournaments and future NBA stars. Instead, the NCAA is making headlines with its newest and most ridiculous rule. It’s being dubbed the ‘Rich Paul rule.’
If you thought the NCAA wasn’t a monopolized factory for future NBA talent, consider yourself wrong after hearing this.
Last month the NCAA decided to create a new rule for players looking to hire agents in their pursuit of professional basketball careers.
Not only does the new rule require agents to pass an in-person exam at the NCAA headquarters but agents must also hold at least a bachelor’s degree.
Many are calling this the ‘Rich Paul rule’, notably because Paul does not have a bachelor’s degree. If you don’t know much about Paul let’s just say he is probably the most prominent NBA agent in the game today.
A couple of his clients include LeBron James and Anthony Davis, no wonder they ended up on a team together. As a matter of fact, he also got Draymond Green that 100+ million dollar contract with the Warriors this offseason.
He is what any young agent aspires to be, and any young business mind who isn’t going to make it playing professional sports. Rich Paul is the man when it comes to NBA agents and the total disrespect from the NCAA didn’t go unnoticed.
James had a few things to say about the new NCAA rule:
Scratch that! ‘Rich Paul rule’ no more
Just this past weekend, the humble NCAA decided to reverse their rule after tons of backlash. Even James got into the fray. He criticized the NCAA by saying “they big mad and scared,” followed by another tweet with the hashtag #TheRichPaulRule.
It’s obvious that the NCAA backed out after seeing the most influential NBA players of this generation upset with the proposed rule.
While a bachelor’s degree is definitely useful in many different fields, Rich Paul has changed the narrative completely. Being one of the most well-known agents in the entire sports world comes at a price and luckily it will never be paid.
It isn’t surprising that the NCAA has a problem with the way Paul has presented his business. Just last year, 5-star high school recruit Darius Bazley opted out of going to college in favor of something more lucrative.
Bazley accepted a 1 million dollar internship with athletic brand New Balance. This was the first internship of this kind, giving Bazley the dollars while also providing him with the knowledge that most people won’t get in their four years in college.
Like most NBA players, four years in college isn’t the norm. A single-year internship could be more valuable than anything he would get in a single year of a university.
Despite not getting the hype from the NCAA March Madness tournament, Bazley was still selected with the 23rd overall pick and eventually traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Twitter had a field day with the NCAA rule reversal:
Is the NCAA still the future of young athletes?
The Bazley internship was a tremendous blow to the morale of the NCAA. They thrive off the lack of American opportunities for athletes leaving high school.
The ‘Rich Paul rule’ was a direct response to any young athlete considering other pathways for their career.
Paul and Bazley proved that a 5-star recruit doesn’t need a single minute of college basketball to play in the NBA. Fortunately. the creativity of Paul helped Bazley find this one of a kind internship is on another level.
Most players who want to make some money in the gap year between high school and the NBA usually opt for overseas play.
Usually, at 17 or 18, players aren’t ready to move across the world for a single year of paid basketball. This way, players can stay in the country and learn skills that will be valuable for a lifetime.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see more young athletes going down this route in the future. Especially with the NCAA’s lack of respect for trendsetters like Rich Paul.
Luckily the removed part of the rule which requires an agent to hold a bachelor’s degree. Meaning that agents like Paul are back in the fold of working for elite athletes.
People like Paul need to be able to use their creativity and skillset to find new ventures for young athletes. Although it wouldn’t be too far fetched to see the NCAA started to pay out big-name players.
Many people criticized the NCAA and mentioned Bazley’s internship as a reason the rule was created in the first place:
What this could mean for Philly
Like every other team, the Sixers benefit from not having the NCAA tamper with agents. Many players around the world are represented by a personal friend or relative.
If more players take internships or similar opportunities, recruiting will be a lot different for NBA teams. Analyzing the potential of a player who didn’t play college or professional overseas ball will be harder to predict.
Unfortunately, scouts still have a hard time determining if summer league or G-League players are going to be breakout stars.
Ultimately, players like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will not be looked at the same without their college sample size. Even players like Emmanuel Mudiay were drafted high with overseas play.
Players definitely have the right to any agent they want or any career opportunity after high school. Regardless, the process to recruit players who didn’t play overseas or in college will become a bigger part of the league.
One day the NBA might return to the days of high school players joining after graduation. If this happens, scouts who can predict early potential will be in high demand.