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EA Sports Being Sued Over NCAA Football Game

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"Some Sooner Athlete" runs over a Colorado defender. Image via <a href="http://images.ea.com/sports/games/06/ncaa/screenshots/conferences/bigXII/ncaa06_BigXII5_640x412.jpg">images.ea.com</a>.
"Some Sooner Athlete" runs over a Colorado defender. Image via images.ea.com.

No, I'm not kidding. Former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller, who eventually transferred to Nebraska, is stirring the collective off-the-field pot again. From the East Valley Tribune:

The player best remembered in Tempe for his 2006 role in a quarterback fiasco is now suing EA Sports and the NCAA.

Keller filed a class action lawsuit on Tuesday accusing the video game manufacturer of profiting from the likenesses of college athletes, and the NCAA of going along with it. Collegiate Licensing Co., a marketing firm from Georgia that represents the NCAA, is named in the suit as well.

The lawsuit claims that "despite clear prohibitions on the use of student names and likenesses in NCAA bylaws, contracts and licensing agreements, Electronic Arts utilizes the likenesses of individual student-athletes in its NCAA basketball and football video games to increase sales and profits."

The only thing I can surmise is that this is for money. What hardship has this caused Sam Keller? Do people regularly call him and ask why he isn't better on the NCAA Football game?

In my opinion, it's pretty absurd. Student athletes play these games all the time and nobody cares because nobody's name is used, and it's fun to play with a similar team to what actually exists in real life. If you don't believe me, watch Blake Griffin's video diary where he asks why nobody is playing as the Sooners:

 

And here's the NCAA response:

"Our agreement with EA Sports clearly prohibits the use of names and pictures of current student-athletes in their electronic games," the NCAA said in a statement. "We are confident that no such use has occurred and that we will ultimately be dismissed from this lawsuit."

If all they prohibit is the use of names and pictures, there should be no problem. Here's Keller's lawyer making an interesting argument:

"I think (the NCAA) is looking the other way," Carey said. "They're not protecting the student athletes."

Protecting them from what? Thousands of student athletes have fun playing those games every day and they don't care. Their pictures aren't used in the game and neither are their names. You can tell this isn't a rampant violation of rights because you don't see student athletes rising up around the country and protesting.

Finally,

Keller was ASU's starting quarterback in 2005 before suffering a season-ending thumb injury. He was originally named the starter in 2006, his senior season, but then-coach Dirk Koetter flip-flopped the next day, giving the job to Rudy Carpenter.

You can draw your own conclusions.