College Sports

Post blowup, NCAA makes sharp U-turn on agent requirements

Ranking the top 10 UK players in the NBA during the John Calipari era at Kentucky

The Herald-Leader Sports staff ranked the top 10 players from the University of Kentucky during the John Calipari era based solely on their performance in the NBA, as part of our Ten Years of Cal series.
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The Herald-Leader Sports staff ranked the top 10 players from the University of Kentucky during the John Calipari era based solely on their performance in the NBA, as part of our Ten Years of Cal series.

Well, that didn’t take long.

One week after issuing a memo citing new requirements for agents that wish to represent underclassmen in the NBA Draft process, the NCAA has backed off the controversial provision saying those agents must have a college degree.

Here’s the release from the NCAA:

“We are committed to providing student-athletes who are deciding whether to stay in school or explore NBA draft options with access to a wide array of resources to make their decision. NCAA member schools developed the new agent certification process to accomplish that goal and reflect our higher education mission. However, we have been made aware of several current agents who have appropriately represented former student-athletes in their professional quest and whom the National Basketball Players Association has granted waivers of its bachelor’s degree requirement. While specific individuals were not considered when developing our process, we respect the NBPA’s determination of qualification and have amended our certification criteria.

“Student-athletes now can be represented by agents who meet the following requirements:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree and/or are currently certified and in good standing with the NBPA.
  • Have NBPA certification for a minimum of three consecutive years.
  • Maintain professional liability insurance.
  • Complete the NCAA qualification exam.
  • Pay the required fees.

“This policy provides student-athletes with access to hundreds of qualified agents who can offer solid guidance but also protects those same students from unscrupulous actors who may not represent their best interests. We remain focused on improving the college basketball environment, and over the next year, we will continue to evaluate the agent certification policy as well as the implementation of other rules recommended by the Commission on College Basketball.”

The original memo was widely ripped by such notables as LeBron James, Chris Paul and Jay Bilas, among others. Those others included yours truly in a column I wrote last week.

The new requirements come after high-profile agent Rich Paul, who does not have a college degree, wrote an op-ed for The Athletic in which he said, “Does anyone really believe a four-year degree is what separates an ethical person from a con man?”

Read more:

Rich Paul calls rule harmful and exclusionary

Is Anthony Davis to the Knicks still a possibility?

LeBron James’ Big Mad summer

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John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky, he covered UK football from 1987 until being named sports columnist in 2000. He has covered 20 Final Fours and 37 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
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