Blog Entry

Bill Russell the latest to be suing the NCAA

Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:47 am
 
By Matt Norlander

Bill Russell, the greatest winner in the history of basketball, is putting his name against the NCAA.

The case, titled "Russell v. NCAA, 11-04938, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland)," is an antitrust suit that deals with an issue the NCAA completely wishes would just go away: licensing. Licensing players' likenesses long after they've left college and profiting off that is a business practice the NCAA's been in for decades, and it's a battle it will ultimately lose. It's trying to drag out as many lawyer fees and court dates and postponements as it can, but with my amateur view of law, I'm definitively telling you right now the NCAA cannot go on profiting from people years, decades, after they leave their institutions of higher learning.

Russell taking a swing is just the latest, and perhaps biggest, name to take on the NCAA. The NCAA continues to insist it's not really doing anything wrong by acting in such a way. It's one of the worst stances the association can be affiliated with.
Electronic Arts Inc., the second-largest U.S. video game maker, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Russell accuses it of using his image in a “Tournament of Legends” feature on an NCAA basketball video game. Russell, who led the University of San Francisco to NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, said in the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Oakland, that the association sells $150 videos of the team’s championship games. At least 54 video clips featuring him are available through the website of the NCAA’s for-profit business partner and photos of him through an NCAA on-line photo store, according to the complaint.

Russell seeks a court order blocking further sale of the videos, plus disgorgement of profits from the videos and unspecified damages.

Chris Radford, an NCAA spokesman, and Jeff Brown, an Electronic Arts spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to e-mails and voicemails seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The case Ed O'Bannon has spearheaded will swallow Russell's case, and the litigious fight will continue. The two share a common complaint, issue and fight with the NCAA. It's not going away, either.

And what innocently started as a curiosity -- O'Bannon only discovered his likeness being used when a youngster asked him to play a game one day -- could end up being the most expensive lawsuit the NCAA has ever had.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Dec 9, 2010
Posted on: October 10, 2011 12:36 pm
 

Bill Russell the latest to be suing the NCAA

The only people this will hurt are the fans and people playing the games.  I'm sorry Bill, nobody playing the games even know who you are.  Since everybody wants a handout, we'll be back to playing games that look like Tecmo Bowl.  All because some guy played 1 year of college ball and now he's working at McDonalds, he needs money from everybody buying the game.  EA is not going to lose profit, they will just pass it on to all of us. 



Since: Oct 8, 2011
Posted on: October 8, 2011 7:25 pm
 

Bill Russell the latest to be suing the NCAA

No, it does not. Any other student on scholarship can work in his field and be paid. Student actors, stage hands, communication majors can. In fact, some student playing sports are paid, track and field, baseball and tennis. Even Olympic atheletes are paid for shoe endorsements. Why can't I trademark my name and image and make money, like Elvis and Marlyn Monroe?



Since: Sep 15, 2008
Posted on: October 8, 2011 1:30 pm
 

Petition for Bill Russell Statue at USF

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/755/

petition-to-build-a-statue-dedicate

d-to-bill-russell-at-usf/



Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Bill Russell the latest to be suing the NCAA

Oh yes they do, each year reps from the video game industry go to practice fields accross the nation to gain the "numbers, size, complexion of each player.  The games get away with by not using the players name, everything else is the about a certain player.  Pick the Ohio State QB, he has a dark complexion, wears #2, and all the "stats" of T. Prior. 



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:00 am
 

Bill Russell the latest to be suing the NCAA

Hey there SkyHawk09, you are barking up the wrong tree.  Scholarships are handed out by universities, not the NCAA.  So the athletes have every right to go after the NCAA.  If you were correct, these lawsuits would have been tossed out of court long ago.  But they have not and you are mistaken.
Right, because courts always get the law correct. Oh wait, we live in America. No, they don't.

How'd you like it if the school you went to sold jerseys with your name on them, sold your image and likeness to whomever they wanted, and never shared a dime with you?
I wouldn't mind at all. If the school I went to sold jerseys with my name on them, I'd think that would be the coolest thing ever. They wouldn't have to pay me a cent.



Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: October 6, 2011 11:19 pm
 

Bill Russell the latest to be suing the NCAA

go get 'em bill! the ncaa is a joke.




Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: October 6, 2011 9:43 pm
 

Bill Russell the latest to be suing the NCAA

Hey there SkyHawk09, you are barking up the wrong tree.  Scholarships are handed out by universities, not the NCAA.  So the athletes have every right to go after the NCAA.  If you were correct, these lawsuits would have been tossed out of court long ago.  But they have not and you are mistaken.



Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: October 6, 2011 9:24 pm
 

Bill Russell the latest to be suing the NCAA

The NCAA has no authority to use the name or likeness of any student athlete, or to receive royalties for licensing their name or likeness to a third party (EA Sports).  The scholarships that the student athletes receive are not payment for that right, there is no contractual agreement to that effect, so the NCAA and EA Sports are committing the tort of appropriation of name or likeness by using the likeness of the student athletes in the video games, and the schools are doing the same by using the athletes' names on jerseys.  Under NCAA rules, the student athletes cannot themselves receive compensation for the use of their name or likeness while they are on scholarship, but that absolutely does not give the NCAA the right to profit off the athletes' notoriety without their express permission.  The NCAA and EA Sports should be disgorged of their profits and that money paid in damages to all players whose likenesses were illegally used without their permission.  In the future, if the NCAA wants to use the name or likeness of college athletes for money, they should be required to set up trust accounts for payment of licensing fees to the athletes that can be held until the athletes are no longer on scholarship.



Since: Nov 2, 2008
Posted on: October 6, 2011 8:48 pm
 

Bill Russell the latest to be suing the NCAA

Go get 'em Bill (and Ed, et al.)  They are a greedy bunch, selling hypocrisy under the guise of the "student athlete".



Since: May 25, 2007
Posted on: October 6, 2011 8:40 pm
 

Bill Russell the latest to be suing the NCAA

I think there should be a time limit of one or two years. No way should the NCAA be able to make all of the money from these "legend" editions. I don't really have a problem with a short window of opportunity for them to use the last year or two of footage and such, but 50+ years later seems a bit much. And with the NCAA probably only trailing Congress in credibility, I hope they choke on the number of lawsuits coming their way.


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