NCAA Drops Likeness Release From Athlete Agreement

July 21, 2014

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has dropped a controversial name-and-likeness release from the "student-athlete statement" signed each year by Division I college athletes, USA Today reported.

The release is a central part of the high-profile class action filed by Ed O'Bannon, a former University of California at Los Angeles basketball player, as well as other lawsuits filed against the NCAA regarding the commercialized use of likenesses of college athletes. In 2009, the same year that O'Bannon filed his class action, Ryan Hart, a former starting quarterback at Rutgers University, filed a similar complaint. In May of that year, Sam Keller, a former starting quarterback at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, also filed a class action about the NCAA profiting off athletes' likenesses in a series of video games.

The same day that O'Bannon's lawsuit finally went to trial, the NCAA settled its case with Keller, thus avoiding a trial that was set for March. As part of the settlement, the NCAA agreed to make $20 million available to Division I football and men's basketball players at certain colleges whose teams were in the Electronic Arts video games. A week earlier, EA Sports agreed to pay $40 million in a separate settlement with O'Bannon. O'Bannon and the NCAA are still waiting on a federal judge's ruling in the class action.

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