A couple of former Red Raiders are now trying to tackle the NCAA and two other mega companies. They filed a lawsuit and are seeking individual damages for using their celebrity status on video games.
Former offensive lineman Bryan Kegans and long snapper Ian Smetona played at Tech during the years 2001 and 2006. They filed an anti-trust suit against the NCAA, Electronic Arts, and Collegiate Licensing Company.
Tech Law Professor Wes Cochran said the main complaint of the suit is the NCAA does not allow collegiate students to make any money from their celebrity status.
"We had commercial value as college athletes and we weren't allowed to capitalize on that, that's unfair," he said. "That is why they are suing the NCAA."
The former Tech players are seeking compensation for using their likeness in a EA video game.
Attorney Fernando Bustos said, "Trying to receive payment for money the NCAA received when the NCAA licensed college football player logos, insignias, teams colors to these video games."
"Primarily the defendant is the NCAA," Cochran said. "So, Texas Tech is involved in the sense that it is a member of the NCAA, but it is not one of the direct defendants."
Cochran said, "The other side of the coin though is that a lot of student athletes don't have any kind of celebrity beyond their college years that is they don't make it the pros, and so as a result their claim to fame is a college athlete," he said. "So they see it as unfair when they can't make any kind of money, or any kind of financial gain from their celebrity."
Bustos said the NCAA's defense will most likely be the waiver's that the students sign to play sports.
"These students knowingly and voluntarily signed their right to receive compensation from the NCAA or from their school," Bustos said. "They realize in exchange for not getting paid I am getting a free education and there is a lot of value to that."
Bustos said this debate should be resolved in a policy and political level. He also said this legal fight will be an uphill battle because of the contracts the students sign.