Fallout of O’Bannon case has MSU players missing popular game

EAST LANSING — Darien Harris has enjoyed being able to boot up his gaming system and play as himself in EA Sports’ popular NCAA Football series in years past.

It’s a ritual of late summer and fall enjoyed by many college football players and others across the nation.

And its one the Michigan State junior linebacker and others won’t have the opportunity to partake in this year.

As a product of the ongoing O’Bannon case with former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and former Arizona State and Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller taking legal action for not receiving compensation for their likenesses being used, Electronic Arts decided to discontinue the series.

Electronic Arts had released a college football game every year since 1993. Players names weren’t used, but their numbers, heights, weights and abilities were depicted in the game.

“It’s hard, but there’s a lot of things going on with the NCAA and they (EA Sports) felt that they needed to go in a different direction and not have the NCAA video game anymore,” Harris said. “It was always fun to see yourself on a video game and being able to play as yourself. I had a great time while it lasted seeing myself on a video game, but I have hopes that it will come back if they figure out whatever settlement they were trying to deal with.”

Harris’ thoughts were shared by a number of his teammates. MSU running back Jeremy Langford isn’t too sad about the game not being released this year, but did enjoy playing it.

“My little brother used to love playing it and put me in,” Langford said. “I wish they would have come out with it again.

“… It was unrealistic playing with yourself on a video game. It’s like a dream come true. My little brother still has the old one and he still plays that from time to time.”

Harris, whose mother is an attorney, understands both sides of the argument in the case, but didn’t see himself being resembled in a video game without compensation as a problem.

“It’s just a tough situation for them, and honestly as college football players we just love seeing ourselves in a game,” Harris said. “That was the most important thing to us. We weren’t worried about any other aspect of it, we just like to be able to turn on a game and play as ourselves.”

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