What took so long?

Some former college athletes have filed a class action lawsuit against EA Sports and the NCAA, claiming the video game maker has gone too far in using the images of players but not allowing them to share in the considerable profits from  game sales.

Games like NCAA Football 09 and NCAA Basketball 09, for example, feature characters with striking physical likenesses to actual players and the jersey numbers but without their names. This, of course, significantly enhances the experience for video game fans who identify closely with their teams.

If the lawsuit is successful, it could potentially affect the efforts of all universities in marketing their athletic teams. The universities regularly use star players to promote their programs. Imagine a University of Louisville football schedule poster from the 2006 season not featuring Brian Brohm or last season’s basketball schedule poster without Terrence Williams or Andre McGee.

If there’s anything surprising about the lawsuit, it is the question of why it has taken so long for the players — or the trial lawyers — so long to file the action. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for every college football and basketball player who jersey on a opening game roster who has appeared in an EA game.

EA Sports, the NCAA, and the Collegiate Licensing Company, also named in the suit, argue that the NCAA annually reviews EA’s games and do not believe any violations of NCAA bylaws or student rights have occurred.

Those who have argued for paying college athletes even more than they now receive in the form of scholarships, food, travel and priceless college athletic experiences will be pulling for the ambulance chasers in this fight.

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Candyce To Camp — Lady Card Candyce Bingham reports to the training camp of the San Antonio Silver Stars of the Women’s National Basketball Association this week with no illusions or gurantees. See Sonja’s take here.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.