Skip to content

Report: EA Sports, college athletes agree on settlement of $40 million

May 31, 2014, 1:10 PM EDT

Video game manufacturer and NCAA licensing partner EA Sports has reached a $40 million settlement with college football and basketball players for improperly using the likenesses of athletes, according to a report from ESPN.com‘s Tom Farrey.

The settlement was reached with a federal court in Oakland, California on Friday night and it leaves the NCAA alone to defend itself in the upcoming antitrust trial spearheaded by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon.

The settlement could deliver up to $4,000 to as many as 100,000 current and former NCAA athletes who appeared in EA Sports college basketball and college football video games since 2003.

“I’m thrilled that for the first time in the history of college sports, athletes will get compensated for their performance,” said Steve Berman, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs to Farrey. “It’s pretty groundbreaking.”

Berman represents former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller and 77 percent of this latest proposed settlement would go to players represented by Berman. O’Bannon’s class of players would receive 12 percent of the settlement while former Rutgets football player Ryan Hart and former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston would receive the final 10 percent for their group of players.

O’Bannon, Keller, Hart, Alston and all other named plaintiffs will also receive payments between $2,500 and $15,000 for their time and efforts in representing the classes in the case.

The settlement still needs approval from U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken, and if it is approved, the lawyers in the case will receive up to one-third of the settlement funds, or $13.2 million, plus a maximum of $2.5 million in legal fees.

If Wilken approves, former players in EA Sports video games since 2003 will be alerted to the availability of payments and will need to register to collect. Each player will use a formula based on how many years they appeared on rosters in EA Sports video games. Lawyers representing to plaintiffs estimate that there are approximately 140,000 to 200,000 annual roster appearances in all three classes.

Some current college athletes would also be due compensation under this proposed settlement and the legal outcome creates a new dilemma in the NCAA’s quest to keep athletes from profiting from the use of their images as athletes.

An agreement in principle happened last September through Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Corporation, but issues held up the proposed settlement. The NCAA objected to their co-defendants leaving and the lawyers representing the three different classes of players couldn’t agree on the financial aspect.

In September of 2013, EA Sports announced that it’s college football series would be placed on hiatus with no new game coming in 2014 while EA hasn’t made a college basketball video game since NCAA Basketball 2010.

This is a landmark settlement as college athletes look like they’ll finally claim some money for their NCAA likenesses appearing in video games and it sets up an interesting court battle between O’Bannon and the NCAA in the upcoming antitrust lawsuit that is scheduled to begin on June 9th.

Latest Posts
  1. St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin throws out first pitch at Yankees game (VIDEO)

    May 27, 2015, 5:38 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    The 6-foot-6 southpaw showed off his arm, and was accurate in doing so.

  2. Bill Self wins Hall of Fame’s humanitarian award

    May 27, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    150527_billSelf Getty Images

    Self and his wife created the Assists Foundation.

  3. Auburn center Trayvon Reed released from jail

    May 27, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Reed broke a cop’s finger while resisting a shoplifting arrest.

  4. Nebraska and Tim Miles have agreed on a contract extension

    May 27, 2015, 10:28 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Miles is 47-49 in three years with Nebraska.

  5. UAA mixtape of DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017

    May 26, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    (Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

    DeAndre Ayton finally got a chance to play this spring and delivered in a big way.

  6. Top-150 Class of 2016 point guard is focused on seven schools

    May 26, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    walker

    Point guard CJ Walker is focused on seven schools during the recruiting process.

  7. Report: Class of 2016 four-star wing considering college among playing options for next season

    May 26, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    adidas adidas

    Four-star guard Maverick Rowan has a choice to make for his basketball future in the immediate future.

  8. Minnesota lands transfer wing from the SEC

    May 26, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

    FAYETTEVILLE, AR - FEBRUARY 24:  Davonte Fitzgerald #15 of the Texas A&M Aggies goes to the basket and is guarded by Anthlon Bell #5 of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on February 24, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Minnesota closed out its 2015 recruiting efforts with its second incoming transfer of the offseason.

  9. Five observations from EYBL Minneapolis

    May 26, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT

    (Jon Lopez/Nike) (Jon Lopez/Nike)

    The spring grassroots season is over and another spring EYBL season is complete.

  10. The Atlantic 10 announces their conference play pairings

    May 26, 2015, 3:21 PM EDT

    Atlantic 10 logo A-10 A 10

    The schedule isn’t out yet, but each team now knows who they will play and where they will play them.

  11. Norfolk State to lose talented center to transfer

    May 26, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    RaShid Gaston averaged 15.5 points and 9.6 boards.

  12. Report: USC lands Louisville transfer, former top 50 recruit

    May 26, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Shaqquan Aaron could never crack Rick Pitino’s rotation.

  13. There’s only one way the NCAA gets UNC investigation wrong: a 2016 postseason ban

    May 26, 2015, 12:42 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The only people that would punish are the people that had nothing to do with the violations in the first place.

  14. Chris Collins has signed a contract extension with Northwestern

    May 26, 2015, 10:54 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Collins has Northwestern trending in the right direction.

  15. Austin Rivers plays pick-up against LSU freshman Antonio Blakeney, Rutgers freshman Corey Sanders (VIDEO)

    May 25, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    Kelly Kline/Getty Images Kelly Kline/Getty Images

    Austin Rivers played against some exciting rising freshmen in Antonio Blakeney and Corey Sanders.

  16. Charlotte transfer down to four schools

    May 25, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT

    dorn

    Conference USA Freshman of the Year winner Torin Dorn is focusing on four schools.