New NCAA Rules Appear to Target LeBron’s Agent, Rich Paul

The rule requires agents advising prospective NBA players to have a college degrees, among other stipulations

Agent Rich Paul
Agent Rich Paul attends a Lakers game. (Allen Berezovsky/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / August 7, 2019 9:35 am

A new NCAA policy revealed this week will require agents advising prospective NBA players to have college degrees — which has some people questioning whether the organization was targeting NBA power broker Rich Paul.

The new certification policy, which also decrees that agents must have NBPA certification for at least three consecutive years, possess professional liability insurance and complete an in-person exam at the NCAA office in Indianapolis, has been nicknamed the “Rich Paul Rule” in honor of LeBron James’ agent.

Paul has not gone to college and does not have a bachelor’s degree, so under the new rule, he wouldn’t be able to represent underclassmen considering a jump to the NBA. Paul attended high school at Benedictine, a private Roman Catholic high school in Cleveland, and befriended James during his time there. Eventually, that led to Paul forming Klutch Sports Group, which now represents NBA stars like James, Anthony Davis, Draymond Green and Ben Simmons.

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Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann believes Paul and others could bring a legal case against the NCAA over the new criteria.

“Paul, and other agents excluded by the NCAA’s criteria, could argue that the criteria violate federal antitrust law,” he writes. “Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act prohibits competing businesses from conspiring in ways that unreasonably interfere with competition. Section 1 is intended to limit opportunities for competing businesses to combine their economic power to the detriment of the marketplace.”`

Count James among those who think Paul has a case.

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