The NCAA’s New Agent Regulations Sure Look Like They’re Targeting Rich Paul

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Photo: Dominique Oliveto (Getty)

The NCAA, continuing its bid to desperately cling to the archaic model of amateurism for as long as it possibly can, sent out a memo to NBA agents on Monday attempting to reassert its control over whom men’s college basketball players can hire when thinking about going pro. While a rule change in 2018 allowed players considering the NBA Draft to retain the services of an agent without torching their future eligibility, a revision for next year significantly tightens the language around which agents can be NCAA-approved. The original rule covered all NBPA-certified agents, but the new one limits some of those formerly acceptable options:

The rule, on its face, does look more-or-less innocuous for almost any established NBA agent—though traveling to Indianapolis to take an exam sounds like a pain in the neck. But for Rich Paul—whose clients include LeBron James, Anthony Davis, John Wall, Draymond Green, and Ben Simmons—this new rule puts him at an obvious disadvantage when trying to represent new players. That’s because Paul got his start when he was 21 years old and had a chance meeting with 17-year-old LeBron James, and never attended college. Clearly, he didn’t need it to become successful, but this superfluous requirement specifically works to exclude him from opportunities at representing any college player who’s on the fence about leaving.

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