EA Wins NCAA Player Likeness Suit With a Dismissal
Electronic Arts has won a dismissal in a lawsuit brought by former Rutgers University quarterback Ryan Hart accusing EA of using his image in its NCAA Football video game without permission. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson said Electronic Arts' right to free expression under the First Amendment outweighs former quarterback Ryan Hart's right to control the use of his name and likeness.
Elizabeth McNamara, a lawyer for Electronic Arts, said the company is pleased with the decision, which "validates Electronic Arts' rights to create and publish its expressive works."
The ruling may have implications for similar, ongoing cases brought by Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller and former Cleveland Browns player Jim Brown. Both of those cases are currently being appealed to the federal Ninth Circuit Court.
I was never on the side of Hart (and players) and have always felt that a scholarship to college should be sufficient enough to warrant their use in a video game. To me, it always sounded like a mediocre quarterback just looking for a get-rich-quick program.
Now that I think about, aren't players already paid to play football? According to CollegeBoard.com public four-year colleges cost, on average, $7,605 per year in tuition and fees for in-state students. The average surcharge for full-time out-of-state students at these institutions is $11,990. Sounds to me like a player with a full ride to a college earns at least $7,605 (not including the free meal plan and room and board they receive) to play football, not to mention a chance at getting a highly coveted college diploma which should open up a number of doors for them post-college. If they are playing with no future in mind and only thinking about the NFL afterwards, then they need some type of guidance.
In my opinion, if you feel the need to get paid to play college football and be in a game, then just don't play it. No one was forcing Ryan Hart to play quarterback for the Rutgers. He could have paid for college just like the rest of us. Hell, if I had any athletic ability, I would volunteer to play for free. The chance to be in a video? Where do I sign up?!