September 27, 2013
EA Sports will not make a college football game next year after it and CLC (a licensing company) settled lawsuits with thousands of players over the use of their likeness.
That means those players involved in the suit will be eligible to make some money off the video game (although indirectly, in the form of a settlement check for undisclosed amounts).
It's an issue that had only become stronger in recent years. Earlier in the season -- before the lawsuit settlement -- I had asked a variety of Kentucky football players for their thoughts on whether student-athlete compensation is fair and, more directly, about their views on EA Sports. They tended to have stronger opinions on the video game, since it's something they directly interact with on a frequent basis.
Here are their responses.
Bud Dupree, junior defensive end: "I think we should get a cut. Seriously. I think we should get some of it. I know it's all fun and games, but I think we should get a little bit too. Just because of the money that we bring them. To the NCAA and the games. They probably sell out every store when they first release it. So why not give the players a little bit of the cut? Even if it's not a lot, we should get a little bit."
Jaleel Hytchye, freshman cornerback: "I don't really see why to be honest. That's just my personal opinion. I'm sure those guys have a good reason. They've played way longer than me. I'm just getting my feet wet here. I like it. I don't really want money for it. It's just good to see myself in the game."
Avery Williamson, senior linebacker: "Yeah, they are using (our likeness). So we should receive something, I feel like. It would be good to, yeah. Whoever's making the game is probably filty rich already, so I don't see why we shouldn't."
Raymond Sanders, senior running back, speaking more about the NCAA in general rather than EA Sports: "We definitely do feel like we deserve it as athletes. Not only just us football (players). I know the basketball players feel the same way. You know they got the different commercials, jerseys, all those different things that we've made money for them that we don't get but go to the NCAA. You see that and we want to be part of something that fights and helps. ... I got a lot of teammates from different schools and different places and it's all the same way. You see how much the NCAA is making off the schools and off of us and how much money they're receiving, and you're like, where is it all going? And that's what we talk about. We don't want a lot. But we would like more money that could be used for some guys, because I know a lot of guys aren't fortunate enough to survive off that money because of their home situations. ... We're not powerless. We have all the power. We're bringing in all the revenue, basically. So we just got to keep fighting and keep working toward that."
Demarco Robinson, sophomore wide receiver: "I mean, I ain't kept up with it a lot, because I don't feel like they're going to pay us anyway. It would be nice to get paid for it, but, you know, it's all that for fun. I just look at it as being out here for fun. I ain't tripping. ... I know I don't have control over it. I'd like to if we could. I'd be happy to receive the money. But I won't be mad if we didn't. I feel like it's fair enough. Everybody else before me went through the same thing, so I feel I can't complain about it."
I also asked how receiving extra money could change student-athlete lives.
Dupree: "You know, it changes a lot. You know, we don't have times to get jobs since we're always at football. And the majority of us do not come from families that are rich. So we are up here, we came here really broke just on a scholarship like that. Most of us like myself we're just living off our scholarship money. So the money that we do get we have to manage and things like that."
Williamson: "It would help, honestly. Because you know, I struggle to make ends meet sometimes. Got to call home, ask for money. A little bit would help, honestly. It would be cool to get a little bit."
Robinson: "It could change somebody's life for bad, it could change somebody's life for good. ... When we on scholarship, we really don't want for anything. Everything we basically need to survive we get. Anything else is just extra stuff we want. So we don't got nothing to complain about."