IBJNews

EA Sports to settle with NCAA athletes for $40 million

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A $40 million settlement has been completed that will pay college football and basketball players dating to 2003 for the use of their likenesses in NCAA-branded video games.

The payouts could go to more than 100,000 athletes, including some current players, who were either on college rosters or had their images used in videogames made by Electronic Arts featuring college teams. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say it would be the first time college athletes will be paid for the commercial use of their images.

Depending on how many athletes apply for the settlement, the payments could range from as little as $48 for each year an athlete was on a roster to $951 for each year the image of an athlete was used in a videogame.

"We're incredibly pleased with the results of this settlement and the opportunity to right a huge wrong enacted by the Indianapolis-based NCAA and EA against these players and their rights of publicity," said Steve Berman, one of the lead attorneys in the case. "We've fought against intense legal hurdles since filing this case in 2009 and to see this case come to fruition is a certain victory."

The settlement is with Electronic Arts and Collegiate Licensing Co., which licenses and markets college sports, and does not include the NCAA. The case against the NCAA is scheduled for trial early next year.

Plaintiffs in the case, which dates to 2009, contend the NCAA conspired with Electronic Arts and Collegiate Licensing Co. to illegally use their images in videogames.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken still must approve the proposed settlement, which comes on the eve of a major antitrust trial against the NCAA that could reshape the way college sports operate. That case, featuring former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon and others as lead plaintiffs, goes to trial June 9 in Oakland, California.

According to documents filed with the court late Friday, attorneys for O'Bannon and 20 other plaintiffs say they have already run up legal fees exceeding $30 million and expenses of more than $4 million in pressing their case. They are seeking an injunction that would stop the NCAA from enforcing rules that prohibit athletes from profiting from their play in college.

O'Bannon, who led UCLA to a national title in 1995, is also part of the group settling with EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Co. Also covered by the settlement are suits brought by former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller, former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston and former Rutgers player Ryan Hart.

According to the filing, a pool of money will be available to players after attorneys take 33 percent of the proposed settlement and up to $2.5 million in expenses. Named plaintiffs like O'Bannon and Keller will receive $15,000, while others who joined the suit later would get $2,500 or $5,000.

The majority of the money, however, will go to athletes who file for claims, a group that attorneys say could contain between 140,000 and 200,000 players who were on football and basketball rosters from 2003 on. The final payouts will depend on how many of those athletes file claims in the class-action case.

EA Sports announced last year it would stop making the long-running NCAA football videogame series because of the litigation and other issues in securing licensing rights.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Only half a million TV Viewers? And thats an increase? I knew Indycar was struggling but I didn't know it was that bad. Hell, if NASCAR hits 5 Million viewers everyone starts freaking out saying its going down hill. It has a long way to before Indycar even hits NASCAR's bad days.

  2. IU has been talking that line for years with no real progress even with the last Dean, Dr. Brater. Why will an outsider, Dr. Hess, make a difference? With no proof of additional resources (cash in the bank), and a concrete plan to move an academic model that has been outdated for decades with a faculty complacent with tenure and inertia, I can count on IU to remain the same during the tenure of Dr. Hess. One ought to look to Purdue and Notre Dame for change and innovation. It is just too bad that both of those schools do not have their own medical school. Competition might wake up IU. My guess is, that even with those additions to our State, IU will remain in its own little world squandering our State's tax dollars. Why would any donor want to contribute to IU with its track record? What is its strategy to deal with the physician shortage for our State? New leadership will not be enough for us to expect any change.

  3. How do you think the Bridges got approved? I spent a couple days researching PAC's and individual contributions to some city council members during that time. My printouts were inches thick on the two I concentrated on. Finally gave up. Was disgusted with all the donations, and who they were from. Would have taken me days and days to compile a complete list. Tried to give it to the Star reporter, but he thought it was all just fine. (and apparently he was treated well himself) He ended up being laid off or fired though. And then of course, there was land donated to the dad's club, or city, as a partial payoff. All done in the shining example of "charity." No, none of these contributions are a coincidence.

  4. I agree what kind of help or if any will be there for Dr. Ley's patients. I was a patient myself.

  5. What about the hundreds of patients who sought this doctor for the right reasons, to quit drugs. what option do these patients now have, experience horrible withdrawl or return to heroin?? those are the choices. what about the children of these former addicts who's parent(s) WILL not b able to maintain their job, for @ least 2 weeks.. There needs to b an emergency clinic opened for these patients.

ADVERTISEMENT