Photo: Tricia (Flickr)
Gary-native Harry Flournoy, Indianapolis basketball legend Oscar Robertson and Alex Gilbert, the center on the Larry Bird-led Indiana State team which went to the national championship game, are a part of a lawsuit seeking to open the door for college athletes to profit from their fame.
Twenty former college athletes sued the NCAA five years ago, contending the Indianapolis-based organization is violating antitrust law by forcing players to sign over the legal rights to their likenesses. The trial is now underway in California.
Flournoy, who was a forward on the Texas Western team which shattered college basketball‘s color line by winning the 1966 championship with an all-black starting five against a segregated Kentucky squad, says he sees the suit as a second chance to be part of correcting an injustice.
He says the NCAA reaps billions of dollars from DVD’s, streaming video, and licensing rights for video games and trading cards, while the players don‘t see a penny.
“They’re making billions of dollars,” Flournoy says. “I’m not saying these athletes should be making hundreds of thousands of dollars, but they don’t even have a guaranteed four-year scholarship.”
The NCAA has argued athletes receive compensation through their scholarships and not allowing student athletes to be paid creates fair competition by not allowing certain schools to attract all the top talent.