By Zac Ellis
EA Sports used ex-Florida quarterback Tim Tebow's name in its NCAA Football 10 video game, SB Nation reports. That installment of EA's college football series was released in July 2009, the summer before Tebow's senior season in Gainesville.
An SB Nation reader found Tebow's name in the game within Florida's playbook in a play called "Shotgun Twin QB Tebow - Motion Stay." The formation was used by the Gators during Tebow's career, which spanned from 2006-10.
The notion that EA Sports used Tebow's name in a video game while Tebow was still a student-athlete adds an interesting wrinkle to an issue that has largely dominated the offseason. The Ed O'Bannon v. the NCAA lawsuit pits O'Bannon, a former UCLA basketball player, and others against college athletics' governing body, EA Sports and College Licensing Company over an alleged violation of antitrust laws, specifically for using players' likenesses in video games and other commercial items. If the plaintiffs succeed, the suit has the potential to completely redefine the premise of amateurism in college athletics.
Still, the defendants claim no such exploitation occurs. Just last month the NCAA maintained it does not exploit students-athletes by profiting off their likenesses. But documents have shown EA Sports knowingly attempted to replicate players' likenesses in their video-game counterparts, despite NCAA rules prohibiting such a practice. The O'Bannon plaintiffs continues to seek class-action status, which would open the suit up to many more former athletes and could potentially subject the defendants to billions of dollars in damages.