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Ohio State, Spielman Reach Settlement Over Image Use

Paul Steinbach

Ohio State University has settled a legal challenge by legendary linebacker Chris Spielman over the use of his likeness on sponsored banners outside Ohio Stadium, with the university spending nearly as much on legal representation as the $140,000 settlement amount.

A two-time All-American for the Buckeyes in the 1980s, Spielman last year launched a class-action suit against Ohio State on behalf of other players depicted on the banners but who couldn't afford to represent themselves. In all, 64 banners sponsored by Honda appear outside Ohio Stadium, despite the players neither granting permission nor receiving compensation.

Spielman's suit against talent agency IMG remains unsettled, and his attorney, Bret Adams, stated that the case against IMG has national implications, since it sells the names and likenesses of players at other universities, as well.

According to public records obtained by The Lantern student newspaper, Ohio State invested at least $136,436.09 in its defense, despite the fact Spielman had pledged to return his portion of any settlement back to the university. Spielman's $140,000 award will be donated to the William White Family Fund for ALS and the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research, both of which reside at Ohio State. Meanwhile, he will no longer make disparaging comments about the university.

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