The NCAA has acknowledged that college isn’t everything in life.
The rule was passed after a recommendation from the Condoleezza Rice committee on college basketball reform. And we know how successful and accepted some other suggestions emanating from that committee have been. Not very.
The NCAA initially ruled that agents representing players who were considering leaving school before graduation had to, themselves, be college graduates. Think about that for a minute, and doesn’t the word hypocrisy come to mind?
From Allen Iverson to Kobe Bryant to LeBron James, high school stars who do not need college basketball to become NBA first-round draft choices had to be represented by someone they didn’t know well and who needed to have graduated from college.
Thanks to Rich Paul, who was LeBron’s friend from high school and who had earned the trust of the King, the NCAA finally amended the rule and backed off the degree requirement for agents.
And it came because the NBA understood the logic and had given some agents without college degrees the clearance to represent future players. Now, they will still have to go through an NCAA clearing process, which includes taking tests and having personal interviews at the NCAA headquarters. But at least it is an acknowledgment that their way is not the only way.
It’s not a perfect world, as we have been learning painfully lately. And some college players who turn pro early might rely on the advice of a long-time friend over a college coach they have had for one year. Generally, the coach has enough influence to keep the player away from hangers-on looking to make a quick buck.
But for the NCAA to assume that a college degree will automatically prepare someone to be an agent, when grass-roots relationships and street cred are often more valuable than anything learned in a classroom, is ludicrous. Let there be an approval process, but do not tie it to any form of artificial education.
“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,” the NCAA said in making the change in policy.
Exactly. What it should have been saying and doing all along.