Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Update on Ed O'Bannon's Lawsuit Against the NCAA

In the age old debate about compensation for collegiate athletes, score a small victory for the players.  In 2009, former UCLA star Ed O'Bannon filed a class action lawsuit against the NCAA, accusing them of using his likeness and image in video games and memorabilia illegally.  The suit does not impact current collegiate athletes, but contends that the NCAA doesn’t have the right to continue to the player's image once he/she stops playing.  On February 9, 2010, a U.S. District Court Judge denied the NCAA's motion to dismiss the suit, meaning that the case moves forward.

Many video games will contain unlockable, historic teams and while a player's name may not appear directly in the game, when playing as the 1979 Michigan State basketball team, it's pretty easy to figure out who Magic Johnson is.  O'Bannon's suit contends that these players are entitled to compensation.    

Yahoo Sports provides another prime example of how the NCAA could be impacted by this case:
Consider a famous play such as Christian Laettner’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer that lifted Duke past Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA tournament. The footage has been sold by the NCAA to be used in commercial advertisements for nearly two decades. In most cases, neither Laettner, nor any other player in the footage, has been paid. The O’Bannon lawsuit could cause the NCAA to retroactively compensate everyone in the highlight (the UK players guarding Laettner, the bench players, celebrating Duke teammates, etc.) for a cut of the revenue advertisements using that footage generated. Then there’s memorabilia, classic sports television rebroadcasts, in-house ads and so on. (Yahoo Sports)
 The O'Bannon case is a long way from being argued in court, decided and/or appealed, but the ramifications could fundamentally change the NCAA's business model.

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3rdStoneFromTheSun said...

I guess he has a point

especially since he was out of the NBA so fast
he needs cash

Medianewstime said...

I don't understand ... you certainly sound like you'd like to hold the NCAA's feet to the fire in your article !!!