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We’re expecting movement today in the case that could decide whether college athletes share in the billions of dollars in broadcast and video game revenues that schools and the NCAA make from college sports.
The case was brought a few years back by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, who argues that the NCAA makes millions off the images of players and so the players should be able to share in the profits, and a judge is hearing arguments today on whether or not the suit can go class action, per the NY Times:
The plaintiffs argue that the sports video games were promoted with a wink: they did not use individual players’ names, because the N.C.A.A. did not allow that, but the pixelated avatars were similar to their real-life counterparts in height, weight, hair color and jersey number.
For example, Roy Hibbert, a former Georgetown center, stood 7 feet 2 inches, weighed 275 pounds and wore No. 55. In the game ‘NCAA 08 March Madness,’ the Georgetown center character has the same attributes as Hibbert, down to his jersey number and his preference for his right hand.
Most NCAA players end up not making a gazillion dollars in the pros, but do help the NCAA make a gazillion dollars.
Today’s a good day to revisit the incredible Atlantic story by civil rights historian Taylor Branch on “The Shame of College Sports.”