The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s attempt to become a party to a lawsuit regarding the rights of the NCAA and other entities to use athletes’ “likeness” for video games, publicity purposes and other materials. The NCAA had sought to intervene in a settlement stemming from a lawsuit in which a group of athletes, led by the former Arizona State University quarterback Sam Keller, sued Electronic Arts Inc., Collegiate Licensing Company and the NCAA over the likeness issue. After a federal appeals court ruled against EA last fall, EA asked the Supreme Court to review the case. Shortly thereafter, though, EA and CLC reached a settlement with Keller. (The NCAA remains a defendant.) EA subsequently announced it would no longer produce the popular NCAA Football video game.
The NCAA subsequently sought to enter the appeals case “in light of the important First Amendment issues raised in the case and to ensure that its membership is properly protected given the purported settlement between the plaintiffs and Electronic Arts,” NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said in October. With the Supreme Court's decision, this case essentially dies.