I don’t play video games nearly as often as I did while still a teenager, but each year I do buy the newest version of EA Sports’ NCAA Football and then spend about two weeks ignoring all friends and responsibilities before putting the controller down. Every year when I get the game, I also make sure that I spend about an hour to an hour and a half manually entering the names of all the players on whichever team I’ve chosen, and the key players from the other schools as well. I just get tired of yelling at WR #83 for dropping passes, I need to know his name to make it real.
Of course the reason I have to do this is because EA Sports can’t use the actual players’ names because even though the NCAA licenses all the schools, mascots, stadiums, etc., they can’t allow them to use the players’ likenesses. Something about them being student athletes and not letting anybody profit off of them except themselves. So using a number instead of a name allows EA to do this.
However, that’s still across the line if you’re former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller. He’s decided to sue both EA Sports and the NCAA about it.
Electronic Arts Inc. and the National Collegiate Athletic Association were sued by a former college football player who claims athletes’ images are used in video games without their permission and in violation of NCAA rules.
Electronic Arts, the second-largest video-game publisher, circumvents the rules by allowing customers to upload player names directly into games and creating images that closely resemble student athletes to increase sales and NCCA royalties, according to the complaint filed by Sam Keller, a former quarterback for Arizona State University.
The practice is sanctioned by the NCAA and a licensing company for the association, Keller said in his complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Oakland, California. Keller seeks to represent all NCAA football and basketball players featured in Electronic Arts’ NCAA video games.
“Electronic Arts is not permitted to use player names and likeness,” Keller said. Yet the company “with the knowledge, participation and approval of the NCAA and Collegiate Licensing Co. extensively utilizes actual player names and likeness.”
Yeah, yeah. Sounds like Keller was playing the game recently and wasn’t too happy with the rating the game gave him.
Now Keller does have a good point in his lawsuit. Even though they may not be using the players’ actual names, everybody knows that the players in the game are the actual players. It’s not exactly a coincidence Florida’s QB #15 is the exact same size and build of Tim Tebow and has a Circumcision Rating of 99. They also make a ton of money doing so.
Still, why does Keller have to sue EA Sports in a case he could possibly win and may one day alter the way EA is allowed to produce the video game? Is he trying to kill my fun? What the hell did I do to him?
I mean, there are so many other ways the NCAA exploits him and his fellow players for huge profits, why not sue them for that?