Chalmers, ex-players sue over Madness promos

Sixteen former men’s college basketball players, including Kansas stars Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins, UConn guard Ryan Boatright and Arizona guard Jason Terry, have sued the NCAA and multiple conferences for the unauthorized use of their name, image and likeness in March Madness highlights.

Chalmers hit a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left to tie Memphis and force overtime in the 2008 national championship game. After Chalmers made one of the most dramatic shots in NCAA men’s basketball history, the Jayhawks dominated the Tigers in overtime to win 75-68 for their first national championship in 20 seasons.

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

“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.”

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.”

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.”

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Alex Oriakhi (UConn/Missouri), DeAndre Daniels (UConn), Roscoe Smith (UConn/UNLV), Vincent Council (Providence), Matt Pressey (Missouri), Eugene Edgerson (Arizona), A.J. Bramlett (Arizona), Jason Stewart (Arizona), Gerard Coleman (Providence/Gonzaga), Justin Greene (Kent State), Ron Giplaye (Providence/East Tennessee State) and James Cunningham (Arizona State/Tulsa).

On June 10, 10 members of the 1983 NC State men’s basketball team sued the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Company in Wake County Superior Court in North Carolina for unauthorized use of their name, image and likeness. Known as the “Cardiac Pack,” coach Jim Valvano’s team defeated heavily favored Houston 54-52 on Lorenzo Charles’ dunk in the final seconds.

“For more than 40 years, the NCAA and its co-conspirators have systematically and intentionally misappropriated the Cardiac Pack’s publicity rights — including their names, images, and likenesses — associated with that game and that play, reaping scores of millions of dollars from the Cardiac Pack’s legendary victory,” the lawsuit said.

On May 22, the NCAA’s board of governors voted to agree to settlement terms in the House v. NCAA and related antitrust cases. As part of the agreement, which has yet to be approved 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 the association’s name, image and likeness restrictions, sources previously told ESPN.

The conferences also agreed to create a system that will allow schools to pay roughly $20 million per year in revenue sharing to athletes.

ESPN’s Dan Murphy and Pete Thamel contributed to this report.

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