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NCAA Games and Player Likeness Discussion

ALLBLUCAT brought this topic up in the NCAA 2011 Open Thread post on the main page, but I think it's a delicate issue that deserves some of its some spotlight.  This goes beyond just sports video gaming-- it digs at the NCAA's motives and the definition of "amateur status".

For those unfamiliar with the controversy, Eric Crawford wrote a solid opinion piece in yesterday's CJ in which he raises some very legitimate concerns.  While some players couldn't care less about their likeness being used for "free", others like former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller have taken action against EA Sports.

Personally, I take great joy from playing as my favorite team and winning 5+ consecutive National Championships thanks to my other-worldly recruiting and coaching skills.  I have played at least four NCAA Football and two NCAA Basketball games over the years, and I hadn't really given a fleeting thought to the legality of it all.  For the hugely-popular Madden football series, EA sports pays the NFL Player's Association, which in turn pays out to the players a fair share of money for the use of their likenesses.   For the college basketball and football video game series, however, EA pays the NCAA, and the cash flow stops there.  Seems a bit unfair, doesn't it?  Sure, the players in the games don't have names, but SG #14 definitely bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain wedding crasher Card we all know and love, and he didn't receive a dime for it. 

That being said, I am NOT a proponent off halting all future NCAA games or filling the rosters with completely unrecognizable players.  At the same time, I'm somewhat apprehensive to just start shelling out money to college players.  The precedence this would set would almost certainly lead to the destruction of the sacred amateur status that has made college sports what it is (supposed to be).  I don't have a resolution to the issue, but I definitely feel something needs to be done.

What are the thoughts of the CC nation?


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