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NCAA won’t punish active players who receive payouts from Electronic Arts settlement

Jun 4, 2014, 9:31 PM EDT

Ed O'Bannon Jr. AP

With it being announced last week that the plaintiffs in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit and Electronic Arts reached an agreement on a settlement, with the video game maker due to pay $40 million, some wondered whether or not current college athletes would be able to receive money without concern of being penalized by the NCAA. The NCAA answered that question in a brief statement, noting that it will not punish current college athletes who receive a portion of the settlement.

“First, under no circumstances will we allow the proposed agreement between EA and plaintiff’s lawyers to negatively impact the eligibility of any student-athlete…not one will miss a practice or a game if this settlement is approved by the court,” the statement read. “This proposed settlement does not equate to payment of current student-athletes for their athletic performance, regardless of how it is being publicly characterized.

“Second, the real benefactors of this settlement are the lawyers, who could pocket more than $15 million.”

While that last sentence may be true, it comes off as catty and is one that whoever wrote the statement could have done without. Was there anything the NCAA would have lost by not stating that the lawyers are in line to benefit the most from the multimillion dollar settlement? Probably not.

The NCAA, the lone remaining defendant in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit after EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company agreed to settle with the plaintiffs, will look to win a suit that could have a major impact on the slate of collegiate athletics that will begin on June 9 (Monday).

As for whether or not current college basketball players could be in line to benefit from the settlement, sixth-year seniors may be the only ones with a shot. The final college basketball game produced, NCAA Basketball 10, was released in the fall of 2009.

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