So the legendary Chris “29 tackles in one game against Michigan” Spielman has decided to sue the Ohio State Buckeyes. I am not going to pretend to know the legal intricacies of this action, or lawsuit, or motion, or whatever it’s called. I don’t know if he has a case or whatever. In fact, when I decided to write a post about this lawsuit, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes of any movie, and that’s by the “lawyer” played by Randy Quaid in Caddyshack 2.
I am also not 100% sure where I stand on actually paying the players. I know the vast majority of division one schools lose money. I also know a lot of the power 5 schools can find 3 to 7 million to pay their head coaches.
This particular case doesn’t involve current players. Some of the guys involved last suited up for Ohio State in the 70s or before. Ohio State sells banners that use the image of these players, and they don’t give a dime to the actual players. Again, I am not a legal expert, but I am guessing that there is probably some NCAA rule against paying ex-players. Now that I think about it, even if I were a legal expert, I would probably have a hard time understanding the logic of NCAA rules.
Anyway, back on topic. Selling the image of ex-players without their permission or compensation just doesn’t sit well with me. The university would sue Spielman if he sold Ohio State jerseys, and in fact there was some legal back and forth with an ex-wrestler for exactly that. I am not going to pretend to remember any of the details, other than it was one of the famed DiSabatos. It’s also not legal to use an ex-player’s likeness without their permission. I know this one because they stopped making the NCAA Football and Basketball games.
Personally, what I would do is start a player fund. And then I would give any player the option to opt in or out. If they opt in, the Universities and the NCAA (and most importantly EA Sports) can use their likeness in perpetuity for a set cut. The money is then distributed equally among the members every year, or quarter or whatever. That way, it doesn’t matter if they go to Ohio State or Ball State, they get the same share. The integrity of the competition is still intact, and the players get to wet their beak while technically remaining amateur athletes.
I am sure you have an opinion on the matter, fire away in the comments section below. We don’t judge here. Ok, we do, that’s what makes it fun.