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The NCAA just can’t get right. After it was announced that it would require agents wanting to represent basketball players to have a degree, the organization has changed its mind.

When it was first announced, everyone immediately knew the NCAA was only making the rule with Rich Paul in mind. Paul is one of the most prominent sports agents, despite not having a college degree. His friend and client LeBron James calling a spade a spade called out the NCAA.

Today (August 12) the NCAA did an about-face announcing it was amending its certification process. It stated it will not require agents to have a college degree. Instead, they will have to be in good standing with the National Basketball Association.

In a statement the NCAA stated:

“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.”

The “change-of-heart” comes after Paul penned an Op-Ed in The Athletic discussing the new rule:

“Requiring a four-year degree accomplishes only one thing — systematically excluding those who come from a world where college is unrealistic. Does anyone really believe a four-year degree is what separates an ethical person from a con artist?

“Let’s also be clear that once the NCAA requires a four-year degree for athletes ‘testing the waters,’ it’s only a matter of time until this idea is socialized, no longer questioned, and then more broadly applied. We all know how this works. Unfair policy is introduced incrementally so people accept it because it only affects a small group. Then the unfair policy quietly evolves into institutional policy. I’m not sure what the technical term is for that because I didn’t finish college, but I know it when I see it.”

The NCAA claimed in its original memo, they only implemented the rule “to protect the collegiate eligibility.” This move by the organization says otherwise.

Photo: Allen Berezovsky / Getty