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NCAA to pay $20 million to athletes, drops case against EA

NCAA to pay $20 million to athletes, drops case against EA

June 9, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

Today, the legal team for the student athletes featured in EA's games has announced a $20 million settlement with the NCAA -- on top of the $40 million EA is paying. The NCAA says it will pay the settlement to "certain Division I men’s basketball and Division I Bowl Subdivision football student-athletes who attended certain institutions during the years the games were sold."

"This is the first time in the history of the NCAA that the organization is paying student-athletes for rights related to their play on the field, compensating them for their contribution to the profit-making nature of college sports," said Steve Berman, lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the litigation, in a statement.

The lawsuit kicked off in 2009 when Sam Keller, former starting quarterback for Arizona State University and University of Nebraska, filed suit against EA, alleging that the company used his likeness in its games without permission or compensation. It alleging that the company used their likenesses in games without permission or compensation became a class action lawsuit representing a large number of athletes, and moved forward. Following this settlement, members of the class represented in the lawsuit could see payouts of over $1000 for each year they appeared in EA's video games, law firm Hagens Berman said.

EA's settlement with the athletes was announced a week ago, and could amount to almost $40 million.

The NCAA settlement appears to bring closure to the case: The organization also announced that it is dropping its lawsuit against EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company for breach of contract. The NCAA had alleged that EA didn't carry sufficient insurance against litigation, and also that the CLC didn't adequately supervise EA.

In light of the litigation, EA has suspended development of its NCAA-based franchises while it evaluates their future, the company announced last year.

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