Remember the movie “Blue Chips”? For those unfamiliar, it’s a 1994 flick where Nick Nolte does his best impression of former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight. (Knight, by the way, cameos as himself during the movie, setting up a scene where he’s competing against a coach who’s doing an over-the-top impression of him.) Throughout the film, Nolte struggles with a pay-for-play scandal involving a number of his star players—many of whom are current and future NBA stars, most notably Shaq. (It’s probably the best film starring Shaq in a lead role, which isn’t saying much.)
Anyway, the movie raised a big question back then regarding student athletes: If they’re so valuable to these sports, why don’t they get paid? The question hasn’t really been answered since, but we’re nearing an answer, as last week a federal judge allowed for a class-action lawsuit on likeness rights for players—the fruit of a lawsuit first brought by a major star of the “Blue Chips” era, UCLA legend Ed O’Bannon. If the NCAA loses, expect college football and basketball stars to make bank.