Print This Post

Athletes sue video game makers

Posted on 08.21.2013

Across the United States, there are cities that do not have a professional sports team.  Instead, these cities receive sports media attention because of their universities. A prime example is the University of Louisville. The Cardinals mean a lot to the city of  Louisville and for good reason.

Over the past year, the football team won the Sugar Bowl; the men’s basketball team won the national championship; and although they did not win the national championship, the women’s basketball team knocked off the famous Brittney Griner and the Baylor University Bears in the national tournament. All of these sporting events took place on national television, which resulted in national attention to the city and the university because of the many  people tuned in to watch these events on TV. In addition, because of its rich sports history, the university now has a brand new arena called the KFC Yum! Center, which improves the look of the city and attracts more visitors.

Louisville is not the only city that receives these benefits from its university’s athletic teams, but it is a prime example. These student athletes help bring attention to their cities, help build huge stadiums and even attract more applicants to the universities. They do all of this but do not receive benefits such as endorsements or money.  Now as harsh as that may seem, some of these student athletes do receive full-ride scholarships and media attention that will help them secure a job in the future. I believe that is sufficient payment for their hard work, but some student athletes  do not feel the same way and want more for what they do.

For example, in July of this year the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a federal appeals court’s ruling that Electronic Arts, a video game maker used images of former collegiate student athletes in their NCAA sports games. The win opened the door for other student athletes to file lawsuits against EA. EA attempted to block future lawsuits but did not receive the approval of the court. The student athletes argue that EA used their images and other information without their consent, complaining that EA was receiving revenue for the video games and did not ask any of the players for permission to use their likenesses. The current football  video game does not use the player’s real names, but it still uses their personal and physical information to create characters that, the court ruled,  appear just like them in the game.

I would be ecstatic to be involved in a video game, even if I was not receiving benefits. With this recent legal action, it appears that these players who bring so much to their schools and universities are beginning to realize that they have some power to take on big companies such as EA.

While this is just one battle, an even bigger one may be beginning.  Many have debated over the years about whether student athletes should receive benefits for what they do for their schools and communities, and that is a completely fair debate to have. I believe that a free education, media attention and love from the fans should be enough payment for what these young adults do.

Perhaps some people have forgotten to look at what they do have and are focusing instead on what they do not.  Many struggling college students would do anything to have their entire tuition covered and receive the same type of fame these athletes receive. Some students have to scrap for every loan and scholarship they can get to obtain a college education and a successful career.

If  student athletes want these benefits, they should work as hard as they can on the court, on the field and in the classroom to earn a shot at turning professional later in their lives. For some, the endorsements and benefits are just a few years away. Meanwhile, it is better to enjoy the few years of college without all of that, without all the legal trouble for some money and without allowing all of that to become one’s top priority. This argument is not over, and I have a feeling that the legal actions taken against EA are leading to an even bigger battle in the future.


RSS Feed  Follow Us on Twitter  Facebook Profile