Former Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman has filed a class action lawsuit to block Ohio State from the use of images of players for promotional purposes. Spielman filed individually and as an equity member of Profectus Group DBA The College Football Players Club.
The suit, filed today, alleges that Ohio State and it’s partners, including IMG, are unfairly using college athletes for financial gain. Also named in the suit are Nike, Honda, and other advertisers who have purchased banner advertising in Ohio Stadium.
“This litigation is not about Chris Spielman, it is about all of the former college athletes who are unfairly being used by IMG and other corporate entities for financial gain,” said Spielman.
“I personally do not have a financial interest in the outcome of the banner program as my share in any recovery will be donated directly to the athletic department of The Ohio State University.
“My concern is about the exploitation of all former players across this nation who do not have the platform to stand up for themselves while universities and corporations benefit financially by selling their name and likenesses without their individual consent.
“My hope is that this litigation will level the playing field for those affected players, and that they too can benefit from the dollars flowing into collegiate athletics.”
Spielman has the support of other OSU football alumni, including Archie Griffin.
“Although I am not the named Plaintiff in the class action litigation, I am in full support of the right of former athletes to receive compensation from corporations and universities who benefit from the unauthorized use of players names and likenesses,” said Griffin.
“There is no greater supporter of collegiate athletics that me, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities provided to me as a former student athlete.
“However, the recent landscape of collegiate athletics has changed, and these institutions and corporations have a duty to treat all former athletes fairly. As long as the players and universities partner together, this will be a “win-win” situation for all.”
Earlier today the-Ozone requested comment from OSU Director of Athletics Gene Smith through his Director of Sports Information. Smith has not yet responded.