NCAA Considered Letting Developers Use Athletes' Names

by Tim Turi on Feb 27, 2014 at 08:35 AM

Last year the NCAA sued EA for using players' likenesses in their college football games. Since then, an EA Sports developer admitted in court that the team did use actual player stats to design the game, though without explicitly naming the student athletes. Today, we have news that NCAA was at one point debating allowing game developers full access to student data, including names and faces.

The news comes via unsealed documents from the Ed O'Bannon v. NCAA lawsuit, a case in which a former UCLA student sued the defendants for using his likeness without his consent or compensation. The correspondence summary details NCAA members' debate over what could be considered exploitation of students. It also points to a Sports Illustrated bonus DVD that uses NCAA content despite going against established rules implemented to protect students. In essence, the NCAA's acknowledgment that Sports Illustrated gets away with this year after year might be considered selective policing of the rules.

EA Sports settled with O'Bannon for $40 million, but litigation with NCAA and O'Bannon continues. In the following months, the NCAA turned their sights on EA Sports with their own lawsuit alleging the developer as the truly guilty party.

[Source: Deadspin]

Our Take
EA Sports had an uphill climb ahead of it in the court room, but this new information could hurt the NCAA's case against the game developer. Hopefully more revealing information will become known throughout litigation so the court can confidently decide whether both parties are truly to blame here.