UO Athlete fights NCAA for his rights

5/18/2010: Here’s an interesting article by Duck tight end and UO business school student David Paulson, on CNBC. He writes about a lawsuit arguing that the NCAA should not be able to use a player’s likeness after graduation without permission and compensation. 

The current situation is essentially indentured servitude: the NCAA has set it up so no player earns anything beyond subsistence, the universities are lucky to break even, and the coaches get all the profits. Those coaches know how to work a scam! But the NCAA is pushing it with the argument that they forever own the rights to the players’ likenesses. Mr. Paulson writes a good article, with many surprising facts and arguments:

Ed O’Bannon decided it was time for someone to stand up to the NCAA when his friend showed him a video game that featured him and his UCLA team. “My friend said, ‘The funny thing about this is you didn’t get paid,’ ” O’Bannon recalls. “He laughed pretty good and I just sat there thinking, ‘Wow, that’s true.’ My reaction was a little bit of embarrassment, but I was also disappointed that no one told me that they were going to be using my likeness to make this video game. They never sent me any paperwork. I didn’t release my face or my likeness.”

It seems like the NCAA doesn’t want anyone using a players’ name to make money besides them. For instance a college athlete cannot even use his name to run a football camp to make some extra money. It doesn’t seem fair that the NCAA is the only one with rights to make money off of college athletes. I think some changes need to be made to give some of the rights back to the players. 

This will be a long fight, once this principle is established there will be a large increase in the income of college football players and an offsetting fall in the coaches’ take. I’d love to hear Howard Slusher on it!

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