Report: EA requested college athlete likenesses prior to NCAA lawsuit

The NCAA reportedly considered licensing the names and likeness of student athletes to Electronic Arts for its college sports games before the publisher faced its class action suit led by Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller in May 2009. Documents from the ongoing Ed O'Bannon v. NCAA lawsuit reveal that EA sought to depict the athletes "just as they are shown on TV broadcasts" as of 2007, AL.com reported.

"This means putting student-athlete names on rosters and on jerseys in the game, and secondarily using facial likenesses (this could be done in stages)," the NCAA document in question stated. The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) was also involved in the discussion, as documents stating the CLC's position involved in the O'Bannon lawsuit said that "using the rosters in the games, and maybe the names of student-athletes on jerseys in the game would be worthwhile." The documents also reportedly state that the NCAA was aware that EA already based rosters for its college sports games on real-life athletes.

While EA and the CLC settled its lawsuit with student athletes to the tune of $40 million last year after canceling its college football game in development for this year, the O'Bannon v. NCAA lawsuit only just reached a new milestone today: U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ordered that settlement talks between both parties begin. The NCAA also sued EA and the CLC in November, alleging that EA failed to agree to compensate the NCAA for losses related to legal claims from student athletes after its proposed settlement.
[Image: NCAA]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.