Ohio State star sues
One of Ohio State’s most famous football stars sued the university Friday over a marketing program he says used athletes’ images without permission and robbed them of compensation. Linebacker Chris Spielman filed the antitrust lawsuit in federal court in Columbus on behalf of current and former Ohio State football players. 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. The lawsuit names Ohio State and talent management giant IMG as defendants and names Honda and Nike
as co-conspirators. Nike is targeted for its “Legends of the Scarlet and Gray” vintage jersey licensing program and other apparel contracts with Ohio State. The lawsuit accuses the university and the companies of “unjust and monopolistic behaviors” and asks for compensation, while noting Ohio State makes millions in revenue from merchandising programs involving ex-athletes. The filing comes after eight months of unsuccessful negotiations with the university, according to Brian Duncan, a Columbus attorney who represents Spielman.