From the world of sports this week in 2019 –
The NCAA (collegiate sports governing body) came out with rules for agents working with college athletes who are underclassman but trying to make a decision to test the NBA waters before graduation. Take a look at what they had to say:
“With this in mind, we benchmarked our new rules against requirements for other organizations that certify agents, like the NBPA, which also requires agents to have a bachelor’s degree. While different and distinct, our rules taken together, which is the manner they were meant to be examined, provide a clear opportunity for our student-athletes to receive excellent advice from knowledgeable professionals on either the college or professional path they choose.”
So, this is being called the “Rich Paul Rule” around the NBA circles. Rich Paul is Lebron James agent, the most famous basketball player on the planet. Rich Paul is a childhood friend of Lebron James, both of them skipped ‘college’ and went directly to the pros! James went and played basketball in the NBA, Paul went and trained as an agent and now has his own sports agency, Klutch, which Lebron happens to be a minority owner.
So, why is this discriminatory?
Rich Paul, like Lebron, grew up black and with little resources. He probably could have gone to college, given the right support system, but when you grow up black and poor, usually access to those support systems are non-existent. Lebron and Rich have had some great success getting young NCAA basketball players to want to sign with them. So, the NCAA makes a rule whereas Paul will not be able to ‘tamper’ with these young men.
Rich Paul, by all accounts, is a successful sports agent for his clients. He’s a very wealthy man, running a very successful business. He’s smart enough to have an army of lawyers, CPAs, etc. surrounding him to ensure his clients have the exact representation they need to be successful in negotiating great contracts.
Rich Paul does not need a bachelors degree. The role of a sports agent does not need a bachelors degree. The NCAA is forcing agents to have a bachelor’s degree if they want to have access to these athletes.
So, let’s get back to HR. We, organizations and HR pros, are pretty much like the NCAA. We often require education for positions where there is no correlation between educational obtainment and success on the job. We do this, like the NCAA, because we are either:
- Lazy and Discriminatory
Well, we’ve always hired Account Managers with bachelor’s degrees, so that is why we keep requiring a bachelor’s degree. I would say probably 80% of the positions we hire for in organizations do not need a formal education to do that job, but there will be a formal education requirement on the job description.
Let’s not be stupid and you make comments below about how we definitely want doctors to have degrees. Of course, there are formal educational programs that are critical to success. But there are more jobs that require education where it’s not critical for success. Using education as a screener because you have too many candidates is flat out lazy and you’re probably missing great talent.
Since we know who has and doesn’t have access to higher education, requiring higher education for jobs that don’t really need it, you’re basically saying “we just really don’t want to hire minorities”. The NCAA doesn’t want Rich Paul around “it’s kids”, so they change the rules. The reality is, these are more Rich Paul’s kids than the NCAA’s. At least Rich is upfront with his clients about how he’s making money on them!