Chris Spielman Sues Ohio State for Using Athlete Images Without Permission

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2017

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 27:  ESPN college football analyst Chris Spielman speaks during the ESPN portion of the 2011 Summer TCA Tour at the Beverly Hilton on July 27, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Former Ohio State and NFL linebacker Chris Spielman filed a lawsuit against Ohio State University for using player likenesses without permission in a marketing program.

According to Andrew Welsh-Huggins of the Associated Press (h/t the Columbus Dispatch), the antitrust lawsuit was filed in Columbus, Ohio, federal court and names OSU and IMG talent agency as defendants with Honda and Nike as co-conspirators.

Spielman is suing on behalf of himself and other players featured on 64 banners hung around Ohio Stadium as part of a Honda ad campaign.

Nike was mentioned as part of the suit due to an apparel deal with Ohio State that features a vintage jersey collection.

In the lawsuit, Spielman is seeking restitution in excess of $75,000.

He told the Associated Press the following regarding his decision to sue: "My concern is about the exploitation of all former players across this nation who do not have the platform to stand up for themselves while universities and corporations benefit financially by selling their name and likenesses without their individual consent."

Spielman also said he plans to donate any money awarded in the lawsuit to Ohio State's athletic department.

The 51-year-old Spielman was a two-time consensus All-American at Ohio State before the Detroit Lions selected him in the second round of the 1988 NFL draft.

Spielman was a four-time Pro Bowler during his 10-year NFL career with the Lions and Buffalo Bills, as well as a one-time first-team All-Pro selection.