Why Utah Jazz broadcaster Thurl Bailey is suing the NCAA

The “Cardiac Pack” believes it should be paid for the NCAA’s promotional use of college team’s famous championship run.

Utah Jazz broadcaster and former player Thurl Bailey, along with nine of his teammates from NC State’s 1983 men’s basketball championship team, sued the NCAA in a North Carolina court this week for using the players’ names, images, and likenesses for money-making activities without their permission or compensation.

NC State’s run to the championship is one of the most well-known highlights in the history of college sports, especially the final game’s buzzer-beating dunk from Bailey’s teammate Lorenzo Charles to win the title over Hakeem Olajuwon’s Houston team.

But Bailey and his “Cardiac Pack” teammates allege that the NCAA has been using the footage of the game to “advertise its March Madness tournament, as well as for other commercial purposes, without the players’ consent and while paying them nothing.” They also note that the game is available for viewing on YouTube today — with advertisements that generate money for the NCAA.

The plaintiffs in the suit are asking for two things to be decided in a jury trial. First, they ask for “reasonable compensation” for the use of their NIL rights over the past four decades — an amount that must total at least $25,000 given that the suit was filed in North Carolina superior court. Second, they’re also looking for a permanent injunction that stops the NCAA’s “illegal conduct.”

In 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 against the NCAA in a suit allowing players to take advantage of their name, image, and likeness rights in financial sponsorship deals that were previously prohibited under their guidelines, citing antitrust laws. In May, NCAA leaders agreed to the framework of a settlement that would pay $2.8 billion to players who argued they deserved payment for their likeness rights being used dating back to 2016.