Rich Paul has broken his silence on the NCAA's new controversial criteria for agents.
In an op-ed piece published Monday on The Athletic, the Klutch Sports Group founder specifically criticized the governing body's demand that agents must now possess a four-year degree to be eligible to represent student-athletes who want to test NBA waters before fully turning professional.
"NCAA executives are once again preventing young people from less prestigious backgrounds, and often people of color, from working in the system they continue to control," Paul wrote. "In this case, the people being locked out are kids who aspire to be an agent and work in the NBA and do not have the resources, opportunity, or desire to get a four-year degree."
A number of NBA stars publicly chastised the NCAA after it announced the change earlier this month, colloquially dubbing it "The Rich Paul Rule," as Paul doesn't have a four-year college degree.
"I actually support requiring three years of experience before representing a kid testing the market. I can even get behind passing a test," Paul wrote regarding some of the other new criteria. "However, requiring a four-year degree accomplishes only one thing - systematically excluding those who come from a world where college is unrealistic.
"Does anyone really believe a four-year degree is what separates an ethical person from a con artist?"
Paul's highest-profile client, LeBron James, suggested the degree requirement is the result of blow-back from the rest of the industry:
Though Paul admits he's not sure of the reasoning behind the changes, the 37-year-old cited outside speculation that they're due to his work with now-Oklahoma City Thunder forward Darius Bazley; under Paul's representation, the 2018 McDonald's All-American elected to skip college entirely and sign a $1-million internship with New Balance late last year.
The NCAA defended its new requirements in a statement last week, saying it "values a college education and continues to emphasize the importance of earning a degree."
Paul's agency represents a number of notable NBA stars, including James' Los Angeles Lakers teammate Anthony Davis. He's also the agent of Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green and helped the pair secure big-money extensions this summer.