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Justice for the "Cardiac Pack": North Carolina State's 1983 Champions Sue NCAA

Posted by Paul Saluja | Jun 11, 2024 | 0 Comments

In a significant legal battle that brings attention to the rights of former student-athletes, ten members of North Carolina State's legendary 1983 national champion basketball team have filed a lawsuit against the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Company. The suit, lodged in Wake County Superior Court on Monday, seeks a jury trial and "reasonable compensation" for the unauthorized use of their names, images, and likenesses over the past four decades.

The Heart of the Issue

The 1983 team, immortalized as the “Cardiac Pack” for their nail-biting victories culminating in a dramatic 54-52 win over Houston, has seen their defining moment replayed countless times. Lorenzo Charles' iconic last-second dunk and coach Jim Valvano's jubilant sprint across the court have been indelibly etched in the annals of NCAA Tournament history. However, according to the lawsuit, this enduring legacy has been leveraged by the NCAA and its partners to generate substantial revenue, without any compensation to the players whose performances made it possible.

Plaintiffs Seeking Justice

The plaintiffs in this case include prominent former team members: Thurl Bailey, Alvin Battle, Walt Densmore, Tommy DiNardo, Terry Gannon, George McClain, Cozell McQueen, Walter Proctor, Harold Thompson, and Mike Warren. Their suit argues that for over 40 years, the NCAA has systematically exploited their publicity rights associated with the 1983 championship, reaping millions in the process.

A Historic Moment with Lasting Impact

Jim Valvano's 1983 team became a symbol of underdog triumph and has been used extensively in NCAA promotions and archival footage. Despite the players' ongoing contribution to the NCAA's revenue through these materials, they have not received any compensation for the use of their names, images, and likenesses. The lawsuit contends that the NCAA's practice of using such footage constitutes an ongoing income stream that unfairly excludes the former student-athletes.

Broader Implications

This lawsuit is part of a broader movement recognizing the rights of student-athletes. Recently, the NCAA and the nation's five biggest conferences agreed to pay nearly $2.8 billion to settle various antitrust claims, highlighting a shifting landscape in collegiate sports where the economic rights of athletes are increasingly acknowledged.

A Call for Accountability

The Cardiac Pack's lawsuit is a powerful call for accountability and fair compensation. As stated in their legal complaint: “Student-athletes' value to the NCAA does not end with their graduation; archival footage and other products constitute an ongoing income stream for the NCAA long after the students whose images are used have moved on from college.”

Awaiting Response

As of now, the NCAA has not responded to requests for comment on the lawsuit. The plaintiffs and their supporters hope this legal action will set a precedent for how former athletes are treated and compensated for their contributions to the history and profitability of college sports.


The lawsuit filed by the ten members of North Carolina State's 1983 national champion basketball team underscores a critical issue in collegiate athletics: the right of former student-athletes to be compensated for the continued use of their names, images, and likenesses. As this case unfolds, it may pave the way for further recognition and remuneration for those who have significantly contributed to the rich tapestry of NCAA history.

At Saluja Law, we are dedicated to championing the rights of individuals and advocating for justice. The case of the Cardiac Pack serves as a potent reminder of the importance of recognizing and compensating the enduring contributions of former student-athletes. We will continue to monitor this case closely and provide updates on its progress.

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...


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