NCAA Forces Removal of Some Women Soccer Players From FIFA 16

Polygon writer Owen Good has an excellent opinion piece on the appalling behavior of the NCAA toward a small number women soccer players over the upcoming video game, FIFA 16.

FIFA 16 is the first installment of that video game to include women soccer players, and it’s about time that happened. But, the NCAA has forced Electronic Arts to remove the names and likenesses of 13 women, who also attend U.S. universities, because of the NCAA’s insane eligibility requirements,

On Thursday, Electronic Arts acknowledged that 13 members of three national teams — Mexico’s, Spain’s and Canada’s — had to be wiped from its upcoming FIFA 16 at the last minute. That’s because the NCAA, which doesn’t have a goddamn thing to do with this video game, said these players’ appearance — legally secured with permission from their nation’s soccer federations — would violate one of its rules and forfeit their eligibility.

. . .

Per Electronic Arts, neither [Canadian defender Kadeisha] Buchanan nor any of the other 12 players “were to be compensated individually” for their appearance. What that means is EA (properly) paid some fee to these players’ national associations to use their likenesses and others, on a group basis. The distribution of that money, if any is disbursed, is up to those federations’ agreements with their players.

Those deals may respect NCAA amateurism rules or may have exemptions granted. Who knows. In the end, we’re left to assume it’s not any money that’s the problem because the people making the game aren’t paying the women. It’s their appearance in the game itself that’s the violation, probably because the NCAA construes it as the direct endorsement of a commercial product.

The NCAA has no problems for someone like Caleb Porter, coach of the University of Akron men’s soccer team, raking in a salary of $350,000/year to coach “amateur” athletics, but god forbid a “student athlete’s” name and likeness appear in a video game.

Ian O’Connor — Hold Coaches to Same Standards as Athletes

USA Today sports columnist Ian O’Connor hit the ball out of the park in a column this week about the rank hypocrisy that surrounds the National Collegiate Athletics Associations policies that screw players at every opportunity for doing what other students — and even coaches — routinely are able to do without penalty.

The specific complaint that O’Connor had was the set of circumstances that kept USC wide receiver Mike Wiliams from playing in Tuesday’s Orange Bowl.

After Maurice Clarrett won a preliminary legal victory allowing him to enter the NFL despite that league’s rule that players had to be at least three years out of high school, Williams also declared his intention to go pro. When Clarrett lost his legal efforts to enter the NFL, O’Connor writes,

. . . Williams moved to de-professionalize himself by losing his agent, returning gifts and endorsement income and enrolling in summer school.

The NCAA could have cared less — it stripped him of all of his collegiate eligibility. So Williams was left unable to play football either professionally or at the collegiate level this year.

But, as O’Connor notes, there are no such restrictions on coaches and the other shameless hypocrites who exploit collegiate athletes,

If [freshment players Adrian] Peterson and [Dwayne] Jarrett want to turn pro this spring rather than risk injury on the room, board and books plan, they should be free to turn pro. Just as free as NFL GMs to use their first-round picks on other prospects. Instead the freshmen remain tethered to the goals of college administrators who want to protect their lucrative product, and NFL owners who are more interested in preserving a free farm system than they are in saving some 19-year-old from a Ray Lewis blitz.

But that’s how the game is played at the major college level. While coaches can shamelessly break contracts and promises and conferences can shamelessly steal schools from each other, the players are held to a higher stander. Urban Meyer won’t have to sit out a year at Florida; no, he gets to earn his $14 million right away. Any Ute who wants to follow Meyer to Gainseville, or any Cowboy who wants to follow Les Miles to LSU, had better be prepared to spend some quality time — in streeth clothes — on the bench.

Coaches don’t need a release from their national letters of intent. Dennis Franchione lied to everyone before bolting Alabama for Texas A&M two years back, and he’s already up for a raise on his $1.7 million deal. . . .

. . .

. . . in football, the players are told to stay put. You transfer, you sit. You try to turn pro before we want you to, we give you a healthy dose of the BCS, minus the C.

Source:

Too bad coaches aren’t held to same standards as players. Ian O’Connor, USA Today, January 4, 2005.