EA used athletes’ real names during development of NCAA Basketball title – report

Friday, 21st September 2012 20:49 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Former college basketball players’ anti-trust suit against NCAA, the Collegiate Licensing Company and EA Sports has taken a new turn as emails dug up during the development stage of the game show EA used actual player names in the creation process of its NCAA Basketball titles.

For those unfamiliar with US laws governing NCAA athletes, players are not allowed to be paid or accept endorsements. If EA Sports were to use the players’ real names in the game, as with the NBA or NFL, they would be under legal obligation to pay for the use – unless a contract stating otherwise was drawn up. However, with NCAA players, monetary exchange or enforcement gifts are prohibited.

Now that some clarification is out of the way, let’s get back to the subject at hand.

Under EA’s licensing agreement and terms with the Collegiate Licensing Company, EA was not allowed to use the real names of the amateur athletes in its games.

An email from a CLC representative dated July 2007, states that one of EA’s builds of NCAA March Madness 08 featured players’ real names in order for the game to “calculate the correct stats,” of said basketball player. The representative was worried over use of the players names.

An EA spokeswoman replied to the CLC email, stating that the names would be removed from the game before it was released.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in this case will use the emails as further evidence EA Sports intentionally created in-game characters with marked resemblance to real world NCAA athletes without proper compensation and ultimately, breaching rules laid out by the CLC and NCAA.

If the players are successful in their suit, EA could be out  u to $1 billion in damages.

Via Kotaku.



  1. OlderGamer

    They do the same type of thing in NCAA Football. Maybe not the process, but when you pick Syracuse Orange(my localish team) the QB is number 12. Of course the real life QB for the Orange is number 12 Ryan Nassib. Of course all of the teams have the right player jersy numbers and the team builds are reflective of the real life players wearing said jerseys.

    I wondered how they got away with that myself. I guess now, the answer is that they didn’t. Of course with a football game, the faces aren’t as big of an issue(they are hidden under helmets).

    I guess EA would reply, “It’s in the game!” lol.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. mreko3230

    NCAA Basketball/Football players have been getting screwed forever. If you go into any local sports shop, the shop will be selling the most popular athletes jerseys. It will just be the number of the athlete and not the name on the back, but everyone knows who it belongs to. Fans with a little more money to spend can even get the athletes name put on the back of the jersey from the shop they just bought the jersey from. Its ridiculous.

    NCAA basketball has used a players likeness, moves, mannerisms and physical stats for years now. Your point guard is a 6ft tall white dude who shoots left handed and wears #3. Hes in the game. Then you can just go into player editor and put his real name on the back of the jersey- just like in real life!

    #2 2 years ago
  3. DarkElfa

    Fuck the NCAA, they’re just another organization that has exercises too much power and makes too much money. The only reason they’re making a fuss here is because someone is making money off these boys other than the NCAA and that is not why the NCAA is supposed to exist.

    They’re no better than the USADA.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    Yeah, the system is messed up, and everybody knows the star players get paid somewhere, somehow.

    But I also think some of those rules are good for fair play to some extent. Especially in NCAA football.

    The supremely best teams in the league may be holding onto something like 5 draft picks tops, and everybody knows that the rest of the guys aren’t headed for NFL primetime any time soon.

    So if you were to start paying them, then you’d be looking at the vast majority of a team getting next to nothing, while the guys who are actually pulling the game would be golden. That’s not a great way to run a team, and I don’t think it helps the learning experience for the big talents either.

    NCAA football is pretty asymmetric, and I think that’s part of the reason why people love to watch.

    #4 2 years ago

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