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Spielman Sues Ohio State for Using Likeness

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In this May 1, 2015, file photo, Chris Spielman speaks at the 2015 NFL Football Draft, in Chicago. Photo: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Chris Spielman was a great linebacker for Ohio State in 1986 and 1987, winning all sorts of awards and getting all kinds of honors. He did so despite the fact he was not paid to play for the school which was making big money off of the backs of Spielman and others who got a college scholarship in exchange for their work.

Spielman is still not getting paid despite the fact that Ohio State is making money off of his name and performances from 1984 through 1987 by selling Chris Spielman merchandise and using his likeness as part of promoting Ohio State football through the university’s corporate marketing partners. Spielman apparently has had enough of Ohio State and is suing the school looking for cash. Spielman will donate the money, if the suit is successful, to the school’s athletic department.

Spielman’s lawsuit includes one-time Ohio State players Jim Stillwagon, Archie Griffin and others. It is just the latest action against the NCAA and individual schools who make money off of the backs of players and offer little in return although some would say a college scholarship is a big deal. The players get no compensation and no long-term health insurance even though the college football industry brings in billions of dollars annually.

In addition to Ohio State, the school’s marketing agency IMG and two sponsors are named in the lawsuit. One time college basketball player Ed O’Bannon led a lawsuit against the NCAA for using his likeness in video games. The NCAA ended the video game promotion and some former players were entitled to compensation.

Spielman’s lawsuit underlines how big-time college sports uses players for monetary gains but big-time college sports also views players as disposable fodder who are only useful as long as the schools can make a buck off of their likenesses.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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