We are nearing March Madness time, which we’ll admit is the time each year we begin paying attention to college basketball. (Our bracket-loyalty to the Texas Longhorns means that our interest is often short-lived.)But at The Am Law Daily, Zach Lowe’s interest is fervent and historical and he walks through the many plaintiffs in the pending class action lawsuit against the NCAA.
The plaintiffs, who are suing under antitrust claims for the association’s use of their likenesses via video game licenses without compensation, include a Alex Gilbert, a member of Larry Bird’s 1979 Indiana State team that lost the NCAA final to Magic Johnson’s Michigan State, three members from the Texas Western team that defeated Kentucky in 1966, and a member of Michigan’s Fab Five.
It’s an interesting case, and one that could have a huge impact on college sports. The NCAA argues that college athletes are different from professional athletes; college athletes are, of course, forbidden from profiting off their names and images.
But once one gets outside of the actual game and school marketing for the sports, it does seem to be a more troublesome question which should focus on how much you sign away when you accept a college scholarship. Lowe notes that the video games at issue — EA Sports is the target here — do not use the players names, but do use their numbers and physical characteristic, so who the avatar is would seem pretty clear.
One to watch, and one to read if one wants to see what their old college court (and some gridiron) heroes are up to.
Lowe’s full coverage of the suit for Am Law Daily is here.
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