September 30, 2022

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At first glance, the NCAA’s new standard for sports agents who advise college basketball players about the NBA draft is a welcome dose of common sense.

Who Is Rich Paul?

Who Is Rich Paul?

These agents now require a bachelor’s degree and interview at NCAA headquarters before being cleared to lead the player draft research process. It appears to be a smart policy that weeds out the unqualified scammers who might be scamming young stars out of college eligibility and later money.

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Reaction to the new rule quickly erupted on social media, with NBA stars such as LeBron James suspecting, with good reason, that the regulation was aimed not at agents in general but at Rich Paul specifically.

Paul is James’ representative and a powerful NBA agent. He’s also the adviser who brought high school star Darius Bazley, now of the Oklahoma City Thunder, to a million-dollar internship (all U.S. figures) at New Balance last fall, ousting a high-profile recruit from a high-profile student in the multibillion-dollar college basketball business. .

But highlighting Paul, who doesn’t have a college degree, won’t make scholarships choose star players who generate TV revenue but also have options outside of college ball. The NCAA can’t force great talent to stay in college; it might just give those players reasons to stay.

“When I played (college football), you played 10 games (and) you were home for Thanksgiving,” University of Connecticut football coach Randy Edsall told reporters Tuesday. “Now the demands are higher and there is money.”

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Economist Andy Schwarz calculated last year that major college basketball programs earn an average of $1.38 million for each men’s scholarship player. For stars like Mississauga R.J. Barrett, who turned pro after a year at Duke, sees that number climb to $3 million. Until now, however, the NCAA’s strict amateur rules have created wealth for everyone but the players.

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney makes $93 million over 10 years, while University of Iowa strength coach Chis Doyle makes $800,000 a year. And at LSU, contractors and vendors cashed in on the $28 million the school’s football program spent on locker room renovations.

Last fall, Paul made sure Bazley got paid, plucked him from his scholarship at Syracuse and landed him at New Balance. Bazley earned a salary and gained hands-on experience in the shoe business while training for the NBA draft. And New Balance brought in a potential future NBA star by dealing with him directly instead of sponsoring an entire college athletic program.

Who Is Rich Paul?

Paul knew the deal was new, but not news. Instead, he said, it marks a shift in the balance of power between college basketball teams, shoe companies and star players, making them all successful.

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“There weren’t a lot of options in this industry for kids and their families,” Paul told The New York Times last year. “More and more people would challenge the system, but there is no real success story yet. Dario has a chance to be that success story.”

The NCAA’s new education requirement is a surgically precise way to shut Paul out of the decision-making process for NBA-curious underclassmen, but it also underscores the irrelevance of a bachelor’s degree in this context.

After all, Paul became one of the most influential businessmen in professional sports even without a degree, showing resourcefulness and great relationships with powerful people. His association with James dates back to 2002 in Akron, Ohio, where Paul was a busy jersey salesman. James, a high school phenom on the verge of NBA stardom, was one of his best clients. This friendship led Paul to work at Creative Artists Agency, which in turn led him to his current position at Klutch Sports. All these details tell us that Paul doesn’t need a degree to help a college student decide whether to enter a profession.

And NCAA rules don’t necessarily protect players from incompetence or college cheating. Bernie Madoff has a degree from Hofstra and has 120 years left in prison for running the largest Ponzi scheme in history. The current president of the United States, Donald Trump, studied economics, but still bankrupted the casinos of Atlantic City.

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If you were Darius Bazley, which of these men would you trust? Paul or the guys who got the title?

Bazley missed a year at Syracuse, but got a lot of what made Paul successful — first-hand experience in the sport and relationships with powerful people like Paul and James.

And if the NCAA believes the new rule will help steer future Darius Bazleys to college ball or keep stars like Barrett out of school, James says that won’t interfere with Paul’s plans.

Who Is Rich Paul?

“Unstoppable. Unstoppable!” James tweeted. “They are CRAZY and scared. Nothing is going to stop this movement and culture here.”

Everything To Know About Lebron’s Agent Rich Paul

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Copyright owned or licensed by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction or distribution of this content is expressly prohibited without the written permission of Toronto Star Newspapers Limited and/or its licensors. You can order copies of Toronto Star articles at: Agent Rich Paul and Kendall Jenner watched the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers play in February. Credit… Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

United Talent Agency, one of Hollywood’s leading agencies, has joined forces with the influential N.B.A. agent Rich Paul sets up a sports division for an entertainment company.

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Paul, who represents LeBron James and 22 other N.B.A. players under his Klutch Sports Group banner, was named director of the U.T.A. Sports on Wednesday. The alliance calls for Klutch, with Paul as CEO, to operate as United Talent’s sports division while maintaining its own brand.

“We’ve been looking for the right athletic opportunity for some time,” said director of talent agency Jeremy Zimmer. “We’ve made a significant investment in Klutch, but Rich will retain very broad control because we want it to be his thing and we love what he does.

Neither side disclosed the amount of the investment, but Paul said “nothing will change” in how Klutch’s basketball business operates and that the investment will allow him to “go out and continue to build Klutch.”

Who Is Rich Paul?

United Talent Agency represents several high-profile actors, including Angelina Jolie, Kevin Hart, Chris Pratt and Tiffany Haddish, as well as companies such as Coca-Cola, General Motors and Delta Air Lines. But the company, which until now has been limited to the sports business off the field, said it needs Paul’s muscle as it competes directly with rival U.T.A. with established sports departments. In Hollywood: Creative Artists Agency and William Morris Endeavour. .

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Phase U.T.A. The hiring of Paul to lead its athletic department is the latest example of the growing influence of basketball’s biggest stars — and a power broker like Paul. Increasingly, players and their agents are influencing it by arranging transfers to the teams they want to play for, as has been seen on several occasions this offseason. They are increasingly bringing this influence to the entertainment industry.

Instead of trying to start a sports division from scratch or pursue a merger with an entertainment company only to run afoul of C.A.A. and W.M.E., U.T.A. he took an unconventional approach by allying with the rebel Paul to provide immediate power.

Rising high-profile athletes — especially the N.B.A. players – in music, fashion and content creation, adding a sports division is an “urgent” priority for Zimmer.

“All of these things have a connectivity and power in today’s culture that we’ve never seen before,” Zimmer said. “And for U.T.A. to be a full-fledged media company, we needed to be directly connected to the athlete – not just through sponsorships and endorsements, but directly with them in every aspect of their lives in a real way.”

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The partnership also provides Paul, 37, with a gateway to Hollywood, as his N.B.A. the profile expands. In June, Paul became the first basketball agent to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. The magazine describes it as the most talked about, admired, hated, mocked, bravest and most feared agent in sports.

Over the years, Paul’s achievements were often dismissed as a natural byproduct of his close relationship with James, who was still a teenager when he befriended Paul. Criticism sometimes contained racial overtones. “Because he doesn’t wear a suit every day,” James told Sports Illustrated, “and it’s black.”

However, Paul largely tuned out such criticism to steadily build Klutch from Cleveland’s fledgling operation to the point that William Morris also expressed interest in a partnership.

Who Is Rich Paul?

Following Paul’s initial negotiations with the agency, negotiations with United Talent have progressed rapidly over the past two months. Klutch’s contract with U.T.A. began

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