College Basketball Players Planned A Sit-In To Disrupt NCAA Tournament

Chances are if you remember the 1995 NCAA Tournament, you may flash back to Tyus Edney's buzzer-beating, length of the court run against Missouri. Or maybe the surprising upsets pulled by Old Dominion, Weber State and Manhattan. Or perhaps a freshman Toby Bailey helping to lead UCLA to another championship.

There's a very good chance you were unaware of how close we came to seeing none of that.

As part of a protest against the major revenues earned by universities and coaches and the lack of it flowing to athletes, former UMass basketball player Rigo Nunez told HBO's "Real Sports" that there were a number of top players around the country prepared to sit out the tournament.

"At one point it was pretty organized among players that maybe the biggest impact that we can have, and the biggest opportunities for us to have a stand, will be prior to the NCAA tournament," Nunez told correspondent Bernard Goldberg. 
"Well, how was that gonna happen?" Goldberg asked. 
"We were not gonna play," Nunez said. 
"We were just gonna go to the middle of the court and sit down. Every game, in the whole country." 
"Because you weren't getting paid?" Goldberg said. 
"Because it was not fair to us," Nunez replied.
One of the top players from that year's tournament - former UCLA star Ed O'Bannon - has been outspoken in his efforts to see college athletes compensated. O'Bannon, who recently spoke on a panel at Harvard Law School's Sports Law Symposium, has taken the lead in a class action suit against the NCAA. The suit alleges that the NCAA illegally uses the images of former student athletes for video content and memorabilia. A number of former athletes, including a pair from Texas Western's historic 1966 championship team have added their names to the lawsuit.

As schools and conferences look to earn even bigger dollars through strategic conference alignments and the formation of television networks, you wonder if an idea like this could ever gain traction again. Either way, I have a feeling the people at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis would just as soon this story not see the light of day and possibly provoke any ideas.

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