Looks like Sam Keller's case against the NCAA and EA Sports has some legs.
Keller, the former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback, filed a class-action lawsuit arguing that they illegally profit from the images of college football and basketball players. Ryan Hart, a former Rutgers quarterback, filed a similar lawsuit against EA last week in a New Jersey state court. The NCAA and its member universities have licensing agreements that allow EA to publish two college-themed video games: NCAA Football and NCAA March Madness.
Even fans who aren't into video games - or just casual fans of college football - would recognize the players depicted in the game. In NCAA Football 2009, the quarterback for UB is right-handed, stands 6-foot-3, and wears No. 16, just like the Bulls former QB Drew Willy. While the EA player’s hometown is different — Willy is from Randolph, not Bergenfield — each is from New Jersey. Of course Bergenfield is merely 40 minutes from Randolph so it's close enough.
As a fan of the NCAA Football series - I've been playing it since the game was called Bill Walsh Football on Sega Genesis - I greet the arrival of the game with more anticipation than the John Madden NFL game. I've had July 14 circled on my calendar for quite some time now. But the NCAA is once again making millions off athletes who receive no compensation. Critics will say the scholarship and free education they earn is priceless, but that was before the stakes were raised with mega million dollar TV deals and depicting athletes in video games. I'm sure Sam Bradford is worth a lot more to Oklahoma than the (approximately) $100,000 scholarship he was offered out of high school.
I'm not saying it's time to pay the athletes, but some compensation from the EA video game series isn't asking too much.
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