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Former QB: "Majority" of NCAA Players "Happy" to be in Video Game for Free

Illustration for article titled Former QB: Majority of NCAA Players Happy to be in Video Game for Free

Last month a former Arizona State quarterback sued the NCAA and Electronic Arts for the uncompensated use of his likeness in EA's NCAA football franchise. Another ex-QB says most have no problem with it.

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When at Michigan State, Drew Stanton researched how universities profit from the marketing of jerseys with active college players' numerals on them. Talking to the Detroit Free Press, he said he doesn't consider the NCAA Football game franchise to be the same problem.

You take it for what it's worth. Most people are excited that they're in a video game. It could be the fact that this player found a loophole in the system, but I think the majority of people in the game are happy to be in it. The reason you go to college isn't to be in a video game and get paid for it.

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Although I wasn't a college athlete, I respectfully disagree with the position and find it no different than licensed NCAA jerseys sold solely because it features a number, if not the name, of a current star player.

The university gets the benefit of an athlete's on-field performance and rewards it with a scholarship. Fine. But the university, through its licensing deal with the NCAA, also gets the benefit of their likeness in a game developed and marketed to be a realistic portrayal of the current college football season. Maybe the agreement between player and school covers the use of likeness for things like media guides, promotional materials, television highlight shows, but I doubt it extends to video games.

Of course, that assumes a court would find that "QB#5," with Stanton's height, weight, skin color and - let's not forget this - attributes scored according to his prior performance, constitutes his likeness. As much as I would hate to see NCAA Football, my first love in next-gen gaming, lose its depth of realism, I think it does.

Likeness in Video Games Disputed [Detroit Free Press, and photo]

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DISCUSSION

the-albatross-old
The Albatross

This former Arizona QB is the only person I have heard of to have this reaction, being upset that his likeness is represented in a videogame. Most student athletes are excited to play as their team with mostly real players in the game. The litigants QB obviously sees an opportunity to make a buck now that his playing career is over and football did nothing for him professionally.

If this new standard was applied to NCAA Football, it could be applied elsewhere to other games. Remember the original Guitar Hero's, with the anonymous Black guy and the Afro who could shred guitar similarly to Jimi Hendrix? Before agreeing to add real likenesses to the games, should the GH publishers pay out? Everybody knows who that's *supposed* to be, and this goes elsewhere — does Tekken or Virtua Fighter pay out for their obvious Bruce Lee caricatures?

Finally, the former player's gripe should be with the NCAA, not with EASports, because it is the NCAA that authorized the use of the teams, jerseys, and player likenesses. A similar organization does not exist with former NFL players used on historic teams, as the NFL veterans association doesn't have that sort of relationship with its athletes as the NCAA does. However, suing EA is likely much more profitable for the player, as the NCAA consistently wins their suits with former athletes, and EA does not have the widespread public and governmental support that the NCAA does.