Separate NCAA Player Class Action Against EA Moves Forward

Lawyers representing former West Virginia running back Shawne Alston (who played for the team from 2009 – 2012) have filed a separate class-action suit against Electronic Arts in the Federal District Court in New Jersey. The new lawsuit alleges that EA engaged in "blatant and unlawful" use of college athletes' names and likenesses in its college football and basketball games.

While the lawsuit is similar to another proposed class-action case against EA that is proceeding in federal court in New Jersey on behalf of former Rutgers quarterback Ryan Hart, it is a wholly separate affair. Alston's lawyers are also representing former Arizona State and Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller in a suit related to video games against EA, the NCAA and Collegiate Licensing Co., in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Robert Carey, one of the attorneys representing Alston, said Wednesday that they filed the Alston case last week because Hart's lawyers have defined their prospective class of plaintiffs too narrowly.

Alston's suit also alleges that an avatar that looks like him appears in a number of different NCAA games and even appears on the back cover of the 2013 NCAA Football game for the Xbox 360. The complaint adds that the player in the primary image on the back cover, former Baylor and now Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, "was paid — after exhausting his collegiate eligibility and becoming a professional player — to appear on the back cover of the game." Alston and others that appeared on the back cover were not paid.

Carey said Alston's legal team will seek to have its case consolidated with the Hart case.

Source: USA Today


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