NCAA knew games matched reality?
by Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY Sports
Lawyers representing former and current college football and men’s basketball players in an anti-trust lawsuit said in documents unsealed Monday that the NCAA knew video game manufacturer Electronic Arts made its products with the purpose of having the game characters “match as closely as possible the real-life characteristics” of actual student-athletes.
The lawyers also said the NCAA was aware that other companies had developed ways for the names of actual student-athletes to be added to the games and “knowingly tolerated” it.
The documents originally had been filed under seal and in redacted form in U.S. District Court in California as part of a bid by the athletes’ lawyers to have the lawsuit certified as a class action. They were revealed Monday, following the conclusion of nearly two months of legal wrangling and numerous rulings about which documents and parts of documents would be made public and which, at least for the time being, would not.
The suit seeks damages from the NCAA, EA and Collegiate Licensing Co., the nation’s leading collegiate trademark licensing and marketing firm. The 15 named plaintiffs, including former basketball stars Ed O’Bannon, Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell, say their names, images and likenesses were used illegally by the NCAA.
They allege that the defendants violated anti-trust law by conspiring to fix at zero the amount of compensation athletes can receive for the use of their names, images and likenesses in products or media while they are in school and by requiring athletes to sign forms under which they relinquish in perpetuity all rights pertaining to the use of the names, images and likenesses in ways including TV contracts, rebroadcasts of games, and video game, jersey and other apparel sales.
Another document made public Monday by the plaintiffs lawyers showed the results of an NCAA commercialism and licensing survey in which 12 of … [For more on Documents say NCAA knew video games matched reality, click here.]