Chris Spielman was one of the greatest players to ever pull on an Ohio State uniform. Now, he’s at odds with at least one arm of his alma mater.
The Associated Press is reporting that the former Buckeyes linebacker filed an antitrust lawsuit in a Columbus federal court on what was described as the behalf of former and current OSU football players. Named in the suit are OSU and IMG, with Honda and Nike being named as co-conspirators.
At issue is the university’s marketing arm using the likenesses of Spielman and others on banners that have corporate logos slapped on them. From the AP:
The complaint targets Ohio State marketing programs and contracts that promote the university using likenesses of athletes, including a Honda-sponsored program of 64 banners hung around Ohio Stadium featuring photos of former players.
In addition to Spielman, some of the other Ohio State greats whose pictures appear on those banners include running back Archie Griffin, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1974 and 1975; lineman Jim Stillwagon, who played on the 1968 national championship team; and Mike Doss, a safety who played on the 2002 national championship team.
All are among the athletes Spielman is suing on behalf of, said Brian Duncan, a Columbus attorney who represents Spielman.
“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,” Spielman said in a statement to the AP.
The former Buckeye great expounded on his feelings in a subsequent radio interview.
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) July 14, 2017
Spielman is seeking above $75,000 in the suit, with any money he receives being donated back to the university for the benefit of student-athletes. The two sides had previously attempted to work out a deal prior to the filing.
In a statement, OSU athletic director Gene Smith responded, somewhat, to the lawsuit.
“We immensely value our relationships with all of our former student athletes,” Smith stated. “Ohio State is aware of the lawsuit that Chris Spielman has filed, and we are in the process of reviewing it.”