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Hornung Wins $1.16 Million in Suit vs. NCAA

August 25, 1985

A Jefferson Circuit Court jury at Lexington, Ky., has awarded $1.16 million to former football star Paul Hornung, who claimed the NCAA had damaged his broadcasting career.

"I've had some wins and I've had some losses, but this is a big win," Hornung said. "It's been a long two or three years, and I really think this decision vindicates me."

The jury deliberated about an hour Friday before agreeing that the NCAA failed to act in good faith when it refused to allow Hornung to work as a commentator for college football games.

Hornung, 49, sought $3 million in his claim that the NCAA damaged his career and defamed him by not allowing him to join Atlanta superstation WTBS as a color analyst.

Hornung had agreed to do 38 games in the 1982 and 1983 seasons. But the NCAA, exercising a contractual right it had with WTBS, turned down Hornung.

An NCAA official told WTBS that Hornung was rejected because he "does not personify college football" and that "he had at least one undesirable public situation while a professional player," according to evidence in the case.

Hornung, a former quarterback at Notre Dame and a halfback for the Green Bay Packers, was suspended by the NFL for a year in 1963 because he had placed bets on his team to win.

The NCAA also complained that Hornung's TV commercials for a beer were suggestive.

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