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.

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