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EA Sports Sued For Using NCAA Athlete Images

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NEW YORK (CBS SPORTS) - Emails unsealed this week as part of a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA, EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company indicate the characteristics of individual players were knowingly used in video games, according to reports in the Birmingham News and on ESPN.

Former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon is among a number of former college basketball and football players who are challenging the NCAA’s licensing of their images. According to the Birmingham News, EA Sports and the NCAA previously have said the avatars in video games aren’t based on actual players.

An email sent from Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman to Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe and Texas President Bill Powers shows there was some disagreement on whether the NCAA could sell athletes’ publicity rights without compensating them. Meanwhile, Chris Plonsky, an associate athletic director at Texas, said EA Sports would have to make every player a “stick figure” or “generic robot” if the student-athletes could contest their likeness being used.

Plonsky also compared the NCAA to a “version of the army.”

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