|Courthouse News is reporting that the National Collegiate Athletic Association forced thousands of student athletes to sign away rights to their own images and cheated them of a share in the profits from DVD and video game sales, according to an antitrust class action in Federal Court. Led by former UCLA basketball star Edward O'Bannon, the class claims the NCAA forced students to sign the misleading "Form 08-3a" if they wish to play NCAA sports, which "commercially exploits former student athletes" by giving the NCAA the right to profit from their images without compensation, long after the athletes have left school.
The attorney for Edward O'Bannon, Jon King, believes athletes sign under duress and forms are not explained adequately.
"The athletes are herded into a room and given forms to sign. No one explains anything, there are no lawyers and no one has any idea what's going on. But they sign because they just want to play ball," he said.
The NCAA has acknowledged that student athletes possess a right of publicity. In a September 2008 statement on why the NCAA would not sue CBS over its use of college player information, NCAA President Myles Brand wrote, "In the case of intercollegiate athletics, the right of publicity is held by student-athletes, not the NCAA. We would find it difficult to bring suit over the abuse of a right we don't own."
King believes the NCAA did not expect old players to take action against this statement.
The complaint seeks health insurance for players as well as "additional education or vocational training and pension plans to benefit former student athletes."