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Celtics legend Bill Russell joins lawsuit against the NCAA

Oct 6, 2011, 10:00 PM EDT

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Of all the areas from which the NCAA is under attack, a lawsuit accusing the organization from benefiting from the likenesses and images of players without compensating them is maybe the most dangerous one.

And the suit is spot on. You can buy historic videos of NCAA hoops games, but the players don’t ever see a dime. You can buy video games where the point guard for Nebraska seems incredibly similar to the actual point guard at Nebraska, but those players never see a dime during or after college.

Now, Celtics legend Bill Russell has joined the lawsuit, reports Bloomberg.

Russell, who led the University of San Francisco to NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, said in the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Oakland, California, that the association sells $150 videos of the team’s championship games. At least 54 video clips featuring him are available through the website of the NCAA’s for-profit business partner and photos of him through an NCAA on-line photo store, according to the complaint…

“Bill Russell, one of the greatest NCAA, NBA and Olympic basketball players in history, joins the lawsuit brought by Ed O’Bannon alleging that the NCAA has violated federal antitrust law by unlawfully foreclosing former Division I men’s basketball and football players from receiving any compensation related to the commercial use of their images and likenesses,” Jon King, an attorney for the former players, said yesterday in an e-mail.

For the record, both the NCAA and EA Sports (also named as a defendant) deny any wrongdoing.

I hope the NCAA gets what is coming to them.

  1. southernpatriots - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    Someone ought to bring a successful suit against the NCAA. A suit to force a playoff for Div. 1-A since the spineless NCAA member university presidents appear unwilling to do what the fans want. We agree this lawsuit appears to have the most precedent and merit. May the players actually receive some benefit would be great. The schools and/or NCAA may opt to morph the likenesses to avoid any trademark or property infringement in the future, but what has been done, has been done, and they should pay for that.

  2. Tim's Neighbor - Oct 6, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    I feel awful that these guys were merely compensated with a free education for playing a game. Poor guys. No way I’d trade my student loans to have played baseball as my full-time job in college instead of the half dozen odd jobs that I did. No way.

    Bottom line, they weren’t forced to take this path. They gladly volunteered. Give me a break.

    • mox19380 - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:11 AM

      fair statement. But if someone was making millions and perhaps billions over the course of years off your name, face, likelihood wouldn’t you feel entitled to at least a small cut?? They got a free education TRUE… It’s insult to injury that the NCAA makes money while the players are students and for decades and probably centuries afterwards off players who will never make in a lifetime what the NCAA makes in a year. I think it’s fair that they ask for even a small % of that money just like the NLFPA, NBAPA, and MLBPA

  3. rajbais - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    This guy has won everywhere!!!

    Hopefully, this case is his newest stage for victory!!!

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