NCAA hit with new sports-sims likenesses suit

Collegiate sports organization taken to court over profiteering on former student athletes' images across a breadth of media, including EA Sports' games.

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In May, the National Collegiate Athletics Association, along with Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company, was served with a class-action suit protesting the use of current-day student athletes in NCAA sports games. Now, a new suit is targetting the NCAA's continued use of former college stars across a variety of media, including stock footage, DVD sales, classic matchup rebroadcasts, and, yes, sports games.

Not-Blake Griffin posts up against not-Cole Aldrich.

Filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, the complaint was issued by Hausfeld LLP on behalf of former UCLA star Ed O'Bannon, who led the Bruins to a National title in 1995, as well as "thousands of former NCAA Division I men's basketball and football players."

Specifically, the complaint alleges that, through the use of contracts that student athletes must sign to compete, the NCAA has deprived one-time college players from being paid for the use of their images and likenesses across any number of "revenue-generating formats." As noted in a Sports Illustrated analysis of the suit, O'Bannon's complaint specifically takes aim at the anticompete component of the NCAA's contracts and bylaws.

"Student-athletes, but for their authorization of the NCAA to license their images and likenesses, would be able to negotiate their own licensing deals after leaving college," said Vermont Law School professor Michael McCann, writing for SI. "If they could do so, more licenses would be sold, which would theoretically produce a more competitive market for those licenses."

"No one has a right to own or control another person’s image or likeness for eternity without providing fair compensation," said Hausfeld LLP chairman Michael D. Hausfeld. "Former student athletes should have a voice in how their own images or likenesses--once they are no longer students--are used throughout their lifetime."

The suit seeks to prevent the NCAA from continuing with its alleged anticompetitive practices, as well as protect student athletes from similar practices in the future. The suit also asks for damages for former Division I men's basketball and football players who have had their image or likeness used by the NCAA or any of its partners.

[UPDATE] Following the publication of this article, Electronic Arts commented on O'Bannon's suit, telling GameSpot: "While EA was not named as a defendant in this complaint, we do not believe violations of any current or former student-athlete rights or NCAA bylaws have occurred related to our products." The NCAA had not responded to requests for comment on the suit as of press time.

Discussion

21 comments
gulfdigger
gulfdigger

this is just filed suit, but most likely it will either throwed out or settled out of court

kca89
kca89

How about this compromise to solve this issue. If you want to get paid for being in a video game because you're a student athlete, than no longer can that school be allowed to give you any free scholarship money. Also, no exceptions will be made to allow players with low test scores or GPAs into the school if they get paid for being in a game.

daabulls23
daabulls23

If my likeness was in a game, I wouldn't care if I received money. It would be cool just seeing yourself.

gameweasl
gameweasl

That looks like Blake because he is the cover star for the new NCAA but that doesn't look like Cole Aldrich and they never use the names. Plus thats just a promo video Blake isn't even in the game, they like showing off a game from last season because they can use the star athlete that is no longer in college. There are other parts of this suit that are valid but nothing to do with video games...

olfenite
olfenite

@coltsfan4ever: They DO get something for being in these games. By being in this game, that means that they are in a college receiving a higher education. Almost all of these athletes have a full college scholarship. Nearly every single one of these people will never have to pay a dime for their education. Surely that counts for something, regardless if the athlete plans to use the degree or does not finishes school. Honestly, NCAA should make it part of deal of receiving a sports scholarship that they can recreate the person's likeness and use their name. If the player is not okay with that, then they don't receive the scholarship. That would solve everything.

NuKkU
NuKkU

omg who cares if they are in a game they should honor it and not complain for money............serisously

coltsfan4ever
coltsfan4ever

I wonder how many of you people would be okay with some company using your likeness for years while you get nothing and they make millions. The students should get some kind of compensation for these schools and companies using their image or likeness. I mean the school can afford it. The Floridas,Georgias,Uconns,etc... rake in alot of cash each year from bowl games,tv revenue,tournaments,etc.. Might as well toss the athletes who making you the dough a little something.

JCASHUFL
JCASHUFL

looks like the wheels may be coming off the wagon for the evil empire... karma for the anticompetitive mediocre game company

RenegadePatriot
RenegadePatriot

I see no problem with the game showing the likeness of the real players.

maverick_76
maverick_76

@luvthyherbals Yeah, I do think that while they are in school that they should be allowed to get a job but they should not get paid other than a scholarship while in school. But like I said earlier, the NCAA makes big bucks off old film and other things like that; why not allow some of that to go to the people whose sweat blood and tears made that what it was, memorable.

MarcJL31
MarcJL31

As someone stated below, these athlete get a free education. I mean seriously have you seen the tuition and fees that ordinary students have to pay to get the same education these athletes are offered. And yet then you want them to get paid for the use of their number and someone that kinda looks like them, which in most cases looks nothing like them. If that is the case let them get paid for playing and strip away NCAA Athletic scholarships and see how they like that. I highly doubt anyone who has actually been a NCAA STUDENT-athlete and felt grateful for their education would even join this cause for the payment of college athletes. EDIT: One thing I forgot to mention. On top of getting a full ride scholarship, college athletes get a monthly stipend. And for some schools it is a ridiculous amount. SIU ranges around $800-$1500 depending on your year and sport.

luvthyherbals
luvthyherbals

maverick_76 Posted Jul 22, 2009 10:05 pm GMT I like this, is it fair that Christian Laetner gets a vitamin water contract because he lucked into a fall-away jumper? Heck no, why should these guys not get their pay from use of their likeness, I guarantee the NCAA gets money from that, they should be forced to give a piece to athletes no longer in school. I agree. NCAA has a b.s stance on players getting paid. I have no verified this but I hear they are not even aloud to get a job if they are playing on a scholarship. Ridiculouse when d-1 schools make big bank off of their sports programs. Shame on the ncaa.

dcj438
dcj438

this is a f***ing joke. these people are just losers trying to make easy bank bcuz they sucked and couldnt do anything professionally. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SUE OVER A NUMBER ON JERSEY????? THAT'S ALL IT IS, IT'S NOT YOUR LIKENESS, IT'S A NO NAMER ON UCLA THAT WEARS #31, HENCE, THE REASON THERE ARE NO NAMES ON THESE GAMES -sorry for all the caps but these lawsuits are ridiculous. i hope the judges throw these out as soon as possible.

maverick_76
maverick_76

I like this, is it fair that Christian Laetner gets a vitamin water contract because he lucked into a fall-away jumper? Heck no, why should these guys not get their pay from use of their likeness, I guarantee the NCAA gets money from that, they should be forced to give a piece to athletes no longer in school.

terpriders
terpriders

O'bannon is just like sam keller, he did nothing with his career as a pro, did not get a decent education and is now filing a copycat lawsuit. As a student athlete, they are paid. It is called a free education, if you or they do not think so, try taking out student loans and have $20-40,000 to pay back. It is not the NCAA fault that some athletes in the money making sports are too sorry and stupid to get a real education and when they piss their career away have nothing to fall back on. This lawsuit should be thrown out because college atheletes are not entitiled to . Don't like it, don't play college sports.

reviewninja
reviewninja

mike, they can't do that because they would have to pay all of the students who are non-professional but i agree i wish they had the real roster as well, although you can put random names in NCAA Football at least

luckjon
luckjon

I'm somewhere in the basketball games on the sidelines, frozen as a static image for eternity :(

mike1146l
mike1146l

ncaa games would be so much BETTER if they had real roster instead of HB #21.

CyleM
CyleM

this could get interesting...