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Former men’s basketball players sue NCAA over unauthorized NIL use

Former men's basketball players sue NCAA over unauthorized NIL use

Over a dozen former men's college basketball players, including Mario Chalmers, Jason Terry and Ryan Boatright, are suing the NCAA, six conferences and Turner Sports Interactive for the unauthorized use of their name, image and likeness in March Madness advertisements.

The lawsuit accused the defendants of "systematically and intentionally" misappropriating the plaintiffs' publicity rights while "reaping scores of millions of dollars from Plaintiffs and similarly situated class members' participation in competition," according to ESPN's Mark Schlabach.

The lawsuit accused the NCAA and the other defendants of violating the federal Sherman Antitrust Act through unreasonable restraint of trade, group boycott and refusal to deal.

"The NCAA has for decades leveraged its monopoly power to exploit student-athletes from the moment they enter college until long after they end their collegiate careers," the lawsuit said. "The NCAA has conspired with conferences, colleges, licensing companies, and apparel companies to fix the price of student-athlete labor near zero and make student-athletes unwitting and uncompensated lifetime pitchmen for the NCAA."

The class-action lawsuit, which was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York, includes the Big East, Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and ACC.

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Alex Oriakhi, DeAndre Daniels, Roscoe Smith, Vincent Council, Matt Pressey, Eugene Edgerson, A.J. Bramlett, Jason Stewart, Gerard Coleman, Justin Greene, Ron Giplaye and James Cunningham.

"Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins, and other members of the 2008 Kansas Jayhawks National Championship men's basketball team have been paid nothing by the NCAA or its partner TSI for the continued use of their names, images and likenesses in promoting and monetizing March Madness," the lawsuit said. "The same is true for thousands of former NCAA athletes across all sports whose names, images, and likenesses are continuing to be displayed for commercial purposes by the NCAA, its member conferences, and its partners such as TSI."

Chalmers' 3-pointer for Kansas with 2.1 seconds left in the 2008 national championship game forced overtime against Memphis. The shot is known as "Mario's Miracle" and played annually during March Madness highlight montages.

Last month, 10 members of the 1983 North Carolina State national championship team filed a lawsuit against the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Company for unauthorized use of their NIL for videos and images in promoting college basketball and the NCAA tournament without their consent.

In May, the NCAA's board of governors voted to agree to a settlement in the House v. NCAA case and authorized a landmark settlement of three consolidated antitrust cases. As part of the framework agreement, the NCAA will fund nearly 41% of the damages ($1.1 billion) while the schools will fund roughly 60% ($1.65 billion) over a 10-year payback period that will go to former collegiate athletes.

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