Face Value: Where’s My NCAA Football Game?

Steve S. Chang

©2015. Published in Landslide, Vol. 7, No. 4, March/April 2015, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

Many gamers have noticed that there was no new NCAA Football game from Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) this past fall, and those same gamers are probably wondering when (if ever) the series will make its return. The answer is . . . complicated, and is going to depend on the outcome of a trio of lawsuits filed by former collegiate athletes. The lawsuits generally focus on two issues: (1) whether EA has improperly used the athletes’ likenesses in its basketball and football games; and (2) whether the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA’s) rules, which prevent athletes from receiving licensing revenue from video games and other merchandise, are a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. This article will give a summary walkthrough of the issues and rulings in these lawsuits, and the issues that will need to be resolved before we see the next round of college football and basketball video games.

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