Contact Us for a Free Consultation 304-755-1101


Former College Basketball Players Sue NCAA Over NIL Rights

Posted by Paul Saluja | Jul 03, 2024

In a groundbreaking move, sixteen former men's college basketball players, including notable names like Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins, Ryan Boatright, and Jason Terry, have taken legal action against the NCAA and multiple conferences. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, accuses the defendants of unauthorized use of the players' names, images, and likenesses (NIL) in March Madness highlights, a significant issue in the ongoing NIL debate in college sports.

The Iconic Shot and the Implications

Mario Chalmers is remembered for one of the most dramatic moments in NCAA men's basketball history. His three-pointer with 2.1 seconds left in the 2008 national championship game tied the score against Memphis, leading to an overtime victory for the Kansas Jayhawks. This historic moment, along with many others, has been used by the NCAA and its partners to promote and monetize March Madness. Yet, as the lawsuit highlights, players like Chalmers and Collins have not received any compensation for this continued use.

The defendants in this class-action lawsuit include major conferences such as the Big East, Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC, and Turner Sports Interactive. The plaintiffs allege that the NCAA and these conferences have "systematically and intentionally" misappropriated the publicity rights of the players while earning substantial revenue from their participation in competitions.

Legal and Ethical Dimensions

The lawsuit accuses the NCAA and its partners of violating the federal Sherman Antitrust Act through unreasonable restraint of trade, group boycott, and refusal to deal. According to the lawsuit, the NCAA has exploited its monopoly power to benefit financially from student-athletes' labor without fair compensation. This exploitation extends beyond the players' college careers, making them "unwitting and uncompensated lifetime pitchmen for the NCAA."

This legal action is not an isolated incident. Earlier, ten members of the 1983 NC State men's basketball team, known as the "Cardiac Pack," filed a similar lawsuit for unauthorized use of their NIL. These lawsuits underscore a growing recognition of the rights of former athletes, challenging the NCAA's long-standing practices.

Recent Developments and Future Implications

The NCAA has already faced significant pressure to address NIL issues. On May 22, the NCAA's board of governors agreed to settlement terms in the House v. NCAA and related antitrust cases. As part of this agreement, which is pending approval by a federal judge, the NCAA will provide more than $2.7 billion to former athletes over the next decade for back damages related to NIL restrictions. Additionally, conferences have agreed to create a system allowing schools to pay approximately $20 million per year in revenue sharing to athletes.

The outcome of this latest lawsuit could further shape the future landscape of college athletics. A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs would not only compensate these former athletes but could also establish a precedent for how NIL rights are handled in the future, potentially leading to more equitable treatment and compensation for student-athletes.


At Saluja Law, we will continue to monitor developments and provide updates on how these legal battles shape the future of college sports. The exploitation of student-athletes' NIL without proper compensation is a significant issue that demands attention and action. 

This lawsuit represents a pivotal moment in the fight for athletes' rights, and we stand in support of those seeking fair compensation for their contributions to college sports.

About the Author

Paul Saluja

Paul Saluja is a distinguished legal professional with over two decades of experience serving clients across a spectrum of legal domains. Graduating from West Virginia State University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, he continued his academic journey at Ohio Northern University, gr...

Contact Us Today

Specializing in Immigration and Business Law on an international scale, Saluja Law Offices PLLC operates out of West Virginia and handles Family law cases within the local community.

We offer a Free Consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.