An Ohio State legend is suing the school.
Former Buckeyes linebacker Chris Spielman, who also starred at the NFL level, has sued the university for using his likeness without permission or compensation.
According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit challenges marketing programs that use player images, with Nike and Honda names as co-conspirators. Among other things, the action targets a collection of 64 banners at Ohio Stadium bearing photos of former players. The complaint filed by Spielman is a class action, aimed at encompassing all former players whose likenesses have been used.
Spielman told the AP that he will donate any money to the school’s athletic department; his objective is to raise awareness nationally regarding similar practices at other schools.
“My concern is about the exploitation of all former players across this nation who do not have the platform to stand up for themselves while universities and corporations benefit financially by selling their name and likenesses without their individual consent,” Spielman said.
Two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin is among the athletes whose likenesses are being used. He told the AP that he’ll donate whatever he receives to a group that aids former Ohio State athletes in financial need.
“There is no greater supporter of collegiate athletics than me, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities provided to me as a former student athlete,” Griffin said in a statement issued to the AP. “However, the recent landscape of collegiate athletics has changed, and these institutions and corporations have a duty to treat all former athletes fairly.”
It seems like a no-brainer, slam-dunk piece of litigation, especially after the Ed O’Bannon case resulted in a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that this practice violates federal antitrust law. It’s stunning that major colleges would continue to engage in practices that so blatantly exploit the rights of others.
Other than, you know, putting kids to work, making millions from their efforts, and not paying them.