Former Tennessee NCAA basketball player Bobby Maze has filed a lawsuit in California federal court against the NCAA and EA Sports over using his likeness in EA’s NCAA games without his permission. Maze joins former Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller and other former athletes seeking class action status against the NCAA. The complaint filed by Maze also names the Southeastern Conference and EA Sports, who he claims profited from exploiting his likeness.
While video games do not name players, they do identify them in every other way including "height, weight, ethnicity, uniform numeral, position, and year in school." Is this a simple way for the NCAA to avoid paying royalties of any kind to players for licensing their likenesses? Many say yes.
The suit also alleges that the NCAA requires athletes to sign a form every year giving up the right to their likeness that continues even after they graduate. No doubt, this practice will be tested in court.