COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State lineman Chris Spielman, the 1987 Lombardi Award winner and an NFL All-Pro, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Ohio State University and talent management giant IMG Friday, alleging that his likeness and that of other Ohio State football players were used in marketing programs without compensation. Spielman filed the lawsuit in federal court in Columbus on behalf of current and former Ohio State football players, including Archie Griffin, the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner. Spielman and Griffin issued statements about the lawsuit to The Associated Press.
“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. 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.”
“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. There is no greater supporter of collegiate athletics than 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.”