NC State Cardiac Pack basketball team, a March Madness icon, sues NCAA for NIL earnings

A group of players from N.C. State’s 1983 national championship basketball team are suing the NCAA for using their name, image and likeness without their permission or providing compensation, citing the 2021 Supreme Court antitrust case against the governing body.

The lawsuit, filed in Wake County on Monday, says the NCAA used images and videos of the “Cardiac Pack” to advertise the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, among other commercial uses.

“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 Wolfpack won the 1983 national championship and earned its “Cardiac Pack” nickname after winning the ACC tournament and then six thrilling NCAA Tournament games. That included a 54-52 upset win over Houston in the championship game on Lorenzo Charles’ buzzer-beating dunk, a play that is replayed regularly during the NCAA Tournament annually.

Plaintiffs in the case are as follows: Thurl Bailey, Alvin Battle, Walt Densmore, Tommy DiNardo, Terry Gannon, George McClain, Cozell McQueen, Walter Proctor, Harold Thompson and Mike Warren. The NCAA and Collegiate Licensing Company are listed as defendants. The plaintiffs demand a jury trial.

Absent from the filing are former players Sidney Lowe, Ernie Meyers and Dereck Whittenburg. Charles’ winning play came when he grabbed the ball off Whittenburg’s long shot at that fell short of the rim. Charles died in 2011.

The plaintiffs note the $1 billion revenue generated each year from March Madness and the $20 million in broadcast rights over the next 10 years. They list the NCAA website’s use of videos from the team’s postseason run, which only play after advertisements.

“The NCAA has never paid one cent to [the] plaintiffs for using their names, images and likenesses,” the lawsuit states.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated with additional information.