Former UCLA basketball player, Ed O’Bannon, is leading the charge to file a suit against the NCAA. O’Bannon and the players he represents are awaiting a decision on Thursday as to whether this case can proceed as a class action suit. If Federal Judge Claudia Wilken allows this, former, current and future student athletes could have the opportunity to cash in on their talent.
They argue that universities have done anything they can to avoid compensation, especially when it comes to avatars of their likeness used for video games. The schools cannot legally use specific athletes’ names, but the plaintiffs argue that the height, weight, hair color, jersey numbers and even playing style are clearly referential.
Electronic Arts, the company that manufactures the video games, admits to striving for accurate likenesses of college players. They also say that the NCAA knew of this practice and approved it. This claim and the emails that report it will be a major factor in the decision.
NCAA Chief Legal Officer, Donald Remy, denies this charge. “This case has always been wrong — wrong on the facts and wrong on the law,” he said.