LeBron James calls out NCAA over new rules that would prevent his agent and friend Rich Paul from representing players just out of college
- New rules from the NCAA will require agents hoping to represent players that are testing the waters of the NBA to have a college degree.
- The rule caught the eye of LeBron James, as it would prevent his agent and friend, Rich Paul, from being able to represent some young players.
- On Twitter, James dubbed the requirement "The Rich Paul Rule."
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The NCAA released new rules regarding the qualifications necessary to represent players testing the waters of a potential jump to the NBA. The changes caught the eye of LeBron James.
On Monday, the NCAA issued a memo outlining criteria that agents would have to meet in order to represent college players who are debating whether to return for another year of college basketball or make the leap to play professionally, either in the NBA, G-League, or internationally.According to ESPN's Jeff Borzello, those criteria include a bachelor's degree, NBPA certification for at least three consecutive years, professional liability insurance, and completion of an in-person exam taken at the NCAA office in Indianapolis in early November.
The requirement of a bachelor's degree has since drawn the ire of James, as some believe it to be aimed directly at his friend and agent, Rich Paul.
Paul, a long-time friend of James, never went to college, instead working directly with the Akron superstar, working at Creative Artists Agency, and eventually developing Klutch Sports. Despite his lack of a degree, Paul is one of if not the most powerful agents in the NBA, representing not only James but Anthony Davis, Ben Simmons, Draymond Green, and more.
On Twitter, James called out the requirements, dubbing it the "Rich Paul Rule."
Others noticed the rule almost seemed to target Paul.While the rule might be frustrating for Paul in some cases, he has plenty of possible recourse. As Sports Illustrated's Michael McCann outlined, Paul could potentially argue that the criteria violate federal antitrust law, as it would exclude talented agents from the pool of candidates players have to pick from as they prepare to enter the league.
One NBA source disputed the idea that the rule targets Paul to Jeff Goodman:
Regardless of whether or not Paul decides to mount a legal challenge, he's already established himself as one of the premier agents in the league, with our without a college degree.
Can't Stop, Won't Stop! They BIG MAD and Scared . Nothing will stop this movement and culture over here. Sorry! Not sorry. ✌- LeBron James (@KingJames) August 6, 2019
Good Lord, y'all scared of Rich Paul.- David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) August 6, 2019
You know what this is going to do? Push more kids to declare for the draft without testing the waters. If you're talking to Rich Paul (who doesn't qualify based on this criteria), you're just going to jump instead of keeping your options open. It's really ridiculous.- Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) August 6, 2019
One NBA guy on new NCAA rule: "The Rich Paul stuff is silliness. He reps like 1 or 2 guys per draft and has lawyers working for him. They are trying to protect kids from all these other clowns. You should see the runner/workout guy/uncle types we get. This isn't about Rich Paul."- Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) August 7, 2019