Do college athletes own their own images?

A group of former college athletes have sued the NCAA for a percentage of the money that the NCAA and colleges make from TV networks and videogame makers. The plaintiffs say the NCAA conspires with its business partners to fix the price of an athlete’s image at zero. A federal judge is currently deciding whether to make the case a class action.

EA Sports, a video game company, got caught in the middle of the NCAA lawsuit because of its NCAA football video game. The game, which many of you may be familiar with, closely resembles real game play, including the likeness of many college players. As students, under NCAA rules they are not entitled to get paid for anything related to their sports. EA Sports recently settled with the students for an undisclosed amount. More interestingly, they decided to stop making the game. It seems it wasn’t worth it for the gaming company because without the authentic athletes, the game wouldn’t be up to the company’s standard.

Click here for more on the case. Should college students own their own images for sports?

24 Comments

KP posted on October 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Even though I am an college athlete I don’t really understand most of the NCAA rules. I would understand that the university that I represent owns my picture and may use it. However I do not understand why the NCAA owns my picture. I feel like if other students can make money for working why couldn’t college athletes make money for their pictures?

Nicole Bishop posted on October 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

Before I transferred I played a D1 sport so I have experienced college as an athlete but also a regular student. A student athlete is not only representing their school when they play a sport, they also represent a bigger group of NCAA athletes all over the country. If the NCAA did not have such strict rules and sanctions, where does an athlete stop collecting money, gifts, or favors based on their image or performance in sports? One would wonder if this would change the competitiveness of some schools and favor those with the most donations. Even though we do not know what would happen if the NCAA did not own a players image, we can assume that it would tarnish the reputation and prestigiousness that goes along with being a college athlete. I guess if I were still an athlete I wouldn’t care that the NCAA owned my picture because I ran cross country and no one would want my “image”.

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