EA requests motion to dismiss lawsuit with NCAA athletes
Electronic Arts has filed a request
for a motion to dismiss
the most recent complaint in an ongoing antitrust lawsuit involving the uncompensated likenesses of college football players in its sports titles. Central to the filing is EA's contention that it should not be named a defendant.
The suit was brought by a group of current and former student athletes, who allege that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) licensed their likenesses for EA's college football franchise without compensation. Following an amended complaint made earlier this July, the presiding judge blocked defendants from filing further motions for dismissal, but EA has pressed for the right to do so, arguing that the company is entitled to a test of "legal sufficiency" to be named in the suit.
"[The plaintiffs' complaint] pleads no facts to support their theory that Electronic Arts Inc. participated in an antitrust conspiracy with the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing company," EA contends in its filing
. "All [the complaint] alleges is that EA agreed to follow the NICAA's rules regarding using student athletes' names and likenesses. That is not a viable antitrust claim."
"EA does not belong in this antitrust action that centers on the NCAA's adoption and enforcement of its rules," the filing continues.
In other words, EA is pinning the onus of uncompensated player likenesses onto the NCAA. The NCAA, for its part, is attempting to downplay responsibility as well, announcing it would not be renewing its contract with EA Sports
, in which it maintained that it had never licensed player likenesses to EA, something that was instead handled principally by the CLC.