Former Alabama wide receiver Tyrone Prothro joined Ed O’Bannon’s class-action lawsuit against the NCAA more than four years ago.
On Wednesday, he took the stand in a U.S. District courtroom in Oakland, California, to lay out why he believes the current set-up for compensating student-athletes for use of their name, image and likeness is unjust.
While the witness who preceded him — Roger Noll, a professor of economics emeritus at Stanford — spent more than 10 hours fielding questions from lawyers on both sides, Prothro testified for just a little more than an hour. The trial could last as long as three weeks.
Prothro, who now works as an account manager for Coca-Cola, experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows within a one-month span in 2005.
On Sept. 10, he made one of the greatest catches in college football history, when he wrapped his arms around a Southern Miss defensive back to catch a 52-yard pass from Brodie Croyle. On Oct. 1, as Alabama was in the midst of routing Florida, Prothro went down with a gruesome leg injury that effectively ended his football career.
He’s since undergone 10 surgeries. In a 2011 interview with AL.com, Prothro said he joined the lawsuit in hopes of providing a better compensation system for future athletes.
“I don’t think (current) athletes should get paid, but I feel they should be compensated in some way, like something put aside after they graduate,” Prothro said. “I don’t want to see somebody end up like me.”
Prothro is one of 20 former student-athletes hoping to receive an injunction for top college basketball and football players to be able to profit off their names, images and likenesses on TV broadcasts and video games.
Here are some of the highlights from Prothro’s testimony Wednesday, according to reports from ESPN’s Tom Farrey, CBSSports.com’s Jon Solomon and SI.com’s Stewart Mandell.
– Prothro said he was forced to pay the university $10 for photos of “The Catch” in order to include them in his 2008 autobiography. Alabama received a $10,000 donation to its general scholarship fund when the play was recognized as the “Pontiac Game Changing Performance Play of the Week” and another $100,000 when it was named the play of the year.
Alabama paid for Prothro’s surgeries, but he left school with $10,000 in debt because of unpaid student loans. He needed the money for “some bills that may have gotten behind.” He’s yet to finish paying off the loans.
– Prothro estimated that Alabama supervised between 30-40 hours of team activities per week. This was similar to the estimate provided by O’Bannon during his Monday testimony. The NCAA permits 20.
During a cross-examination with the NCAA’s attorneys, Prothro clarified his time estimate was for when Alabama went through two-a-days.
Prothro was a general studies major because “that’s the major they kind of put me in,” according to a tweet from Solomon. He graduated in 2008.
– Some other notable moments during Prothro’s testimony, as told through tweets.