Last month a former Arizona State quarterback sued the NCAA and Electronic Arts for the uncompensated use of his likeness in EA's NCAA football franchise. Another ex-QB says most have no problem with it.
When at Michigan State, Drew Stanton researched how universities profit from the marketing of jerseys with active college players' numerals on them. Talking to the Detroit Free Press, he said he doesn't consider the NCAA Football game franchise to be the same problem.
You take it for what it's worth. Most people are excited that they're in a video game. It could be the fact that this player found a loophole in the system, but I think the majority of people in the game are happy to be in it. The reason you go to college isn't to be in a video game and get paid for it.
Although I wasn't a college athlete, I respectfully disagree with the position and find it no different than licensed NCAA jerseys sold solely because it features a number, if not the name, of a current star player.
The university gets the benefit of an athlete's on-field performance and rewards it with a scholarship. Fine. But the university, through its licensing deal with the NCAA, also gets the benefit of their likeness in a game developed and marketed to be a realistic portrayal of the current college football season. Maybe the agreement between player and school covers the use of likeness for things like media guides, promotional materials, television highlight shows, but I doubt it extends to video games.
Of course, that assumes a court would find that "QB#5," with Stanton's height, weight, skin colour and - let's not forget this - attributes scored according to his prior performance, constitutes his likeness. As much as I would hate to see NCAA Football, my first love in next-gen gaming, lose its depth of realism, I think it does.
Likeness in Video Games Disputed [Detroit Free Press, and photo]