Before this week, the Rich Paul hater list was impressive. He’s annoyed to the point of derision elite team builders, including the New Orleans Pelicans. A cadre of GM’s angered that power is not unilaterally in their hands won’t be sending Rich Paul a Xmas party invite. And NBA agents are ticked at the Rich Paul blueprint, that mo’ money isn’t more problems, but less problems. Add another member to the club: the NCAA. The corrupt leaders who monetize student athletes for their own greed have instituted what is being called The Rich Paul Rule.
NBA agents advising student-athletes must have a 4 year college degree. They have to be certified by the NBA for at least three years. And then they have to come to Indy to take a test, kind of like during Jim Crow when blacks were given literacy tests before they could vote, tests they were unable to pass and that non-blacks were not required to take.
If it feels racist what the NCAA is doing , well it is. Because Rich Paul is self made, because he made his millions based on intellect, insight, salesmanship, bravado and epic hustle, and because- let’s be real- he’s a brown skinned dude, he is being punished on the front end. He has too much power and what white men cannot stand is black men with power. And so they are trying to keep him out the room in a stupid attempt to neutralize him which only empowers Paul more, centralizes his power, and makes athletes want to sign with Klutch Sports.
The NCAA is trying to strongarm athletes with a warning. If they choose an agent that doesn’t meet their criteria, the student-athlete will lose their eligibility. As scare tactics go, it registers about a 0.5 on a scale of uh-oh change is coming. Athletes intent on a professional career don’t care about their eligibility anyway. Most of them stop going to class once the NCAA tournament is over. So, the question is: who is this rule for?
If a player wants to sign with Klutch Sports, he will. This rule only romanticizes Rich Paul as a victim and fetishizes Klutch Sports as an anti-hero. As a set of rules, it is totally unnecessary on the front end because on the back end men are going to do what their families think is best. The NCAA has no agency in the decision making with few exceptions, and those exceptions aren’t the hyper-talented. They are the borderline draftee who probably was never going to be a Rich Paul client anyway.
This rule is stupid but it’s not about the rule. It’s about perception. It’s about black men who achieve something in a way white men find offensive because it doesn’t fit the white man way.
NBA agents have been complaining about Rich Paul for years and all they can come up with is he didn’t go to college, which they argue should dequalify him to be an agent, when an agent, for better or worse, is a salesman. He’s a negotiator. He is a deal maker. He is in the people business. He finds the right situations for his clients. Explain how a NBA agent has to have gone to college when NBA players don’t have to? Stop the insanity.
Appropriately, (because they are the NCAA), they have written a check they cannot cash. Arrogant to a fault, the NCAA has embraced racial contempt with their shrill demand that agents pass a test. It implies that the Rich Pauls of the world are intellectually inferior despite their net worth. A degree doesn’t make you a good agent. The ability to handle the needs of your clients and to make money for them is the qualifying principle. Realistically, agents should have a track record of working with clients, but college and passing a test has nothing to do with it.
Emboldened by a racist rule to make sure Rich Paul doesn’t enable that hustler on the corner who can sell, negotiate, make money and then find himself in the elite atmosphere of the NBA, the NCAA is suffocating in their own desperation.
When a certain group of people talk about American fairness, they conveniently skip over white privilege and how that privilege will do everything it can to keep people who don’t look like them, who achieved differently than them, from sharing in equal benefits. The NCAA is that white privilege vehicle that traffics in inequality. It denies money to athletes while monetizing their likeness and name. It punishes the impoverished from money making opportunities. And now it is trying to spank Rich Paul with a feather.
Rich Paul has had an awesome summer. Anthony Davis is a Laker. Draymond Green took less but got himself a $100 million dollar payday. Rich Paul’s name is in the news more than his famous clients. He has taken over the NBA and that is where the fear is. Rich Paul is a one man wrecking crew.
Or, Rich Paul is Moses, delivering his people out of Egypt.