NC State players from magical 1983 national title team seek NIL compensation in lawsuit

June 10, 2024
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Jimmy Valvano’s N.C. State Wolfpack pulled off one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history when they upset the Phi Slamma Jamma Houston Cougars in the 1983 national championship.

More than 40 years later, 10 players who played under the late head coach filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court in North Carolina on Monday against the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Co., seeking compensation for unauthorized use of their name, image and likeness. The players requested a jury trial and “reasonable compensation.”

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Jimmy Valvano celebrates

North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano, center with fist raised, celebrates after the team’s win over Houston to win the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament championship in Albuquerque, N.M., on April 4, 1983. (AP Photo, File)

Lorenzo Charles’ emphatic dunk to win the game and Valvano’s run around the court have been a part of NCAA Tournament promotions for years.

“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 stated.

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Lorenzo Charles dunk

North Carolina State’s Lorenzo Charles dunks the ball in the NCAA Final Four Championship game in Albuquerque, N.M., April 4, 1983. (AP Photo/File)

The suit added that “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.”

The NCAA has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

Fox News Digital reached out to IMG, which acquired Collegiate Licensing Co. in 2017.

Thurl Bailey, Alvin Battle, Walt Densmore, Tommy DiNardo, Terry Gannon, George McClain, Cozell McQueen, Walter Proctor, Harold Thompson and Mike Warren are the plaintiffs in the case.

NC State players

The 1983 North Carolina State players, from left, Alvin Battle, Thurl Bailey, Ernie Meyers, Lorenzo Charles and Harlod Thompson smile at the crowd during halftime festivities of the game between the Wolfpack and the Clemson Tigers in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Feb. 16, 2008. (Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

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Charles died in 2011; Dereck Whittenburg, whose missed shot was collected by Charles, is a staffer in N.C. State’s athletic department and is not listed as a plaintiff.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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