Chris Spielman vs OSU lawsuit over student athlete commercial exploitation

Former Ohio State University linebacker, Chris Spielman, is sick and tired of his alma mater ripping of its athletes. He’s suing the university for commercially exploiting its players’ images and profiting from it. Some of these money-making materials include:

  • Replays of classic games
  • Jerseys
  • DVDs
  • Photos

The lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Columbus also names Nike and American Honda Motor Company as “co-conspirators.” The former makes licensed OSU apparel and the latter sponsored a number of Ohio Stadium banners with former athletes’ names and photos on them.

“The conduct … is blatantly anti-competitive and exclusionary,” the complaint says, according to Columbus Business First “as it wipes out in total the future ownership interests of former student-athletes in their own images – rights that all other members of society enjoy – even long after student-athletes have ceased attending The Ohio State University.”

In Spielman’s corner is Buckeye legend and two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin. He was the president of Ohio State’s Alumni Association for 11 years and still advises its fundraising department. Griffin fully supports the lawsuit and thinks former athletes should receive compensation from organizations who benefit from unauthorized use of their names and likenesses.

In the event they would win in the lawsuit, both Spielman and Griffin have vowed to donate their proceeds. Spielman said he’d take his share to Ohio State’s athletics department.

Columbus Business First reported a statement from OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith:

School officials “immensely value our relationships with all of our former student athletes. Ohio State is aware of the lawsuit that Chris Spielman has filed, and we are in the process of reviewing it,” said Smith’s statement.


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