Federal Judge Approves $60 Million Settlement
A settlement in the class action lawsuit involving former college athletes against the NCAA and Electronic Arts was formally approved by a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, who ruled against the NCAA in the O'Bannon case where the plaintiffs challenge the NCAA's use of their name, image, and likeness, approved the settlement in hearing Thursday. The plaintiffs claim NCAA and EA illegally used college-athletes names and likeness in video games for years.
Steve Berman, the attorney for the plaintiffs in a statement said, "This landmark decision marks the first time student-athletes will be paid for their likeness or image, and stands as a huge victory in the ongoing fight for students' rights." Claims are still being filed by student-athletes past and present, who have until July 31 to submit their claim. Berman also said the maximum payout can be $7,026.
Future Hope for a New Video Game
EA Sports has not published a title in the NCAA College Football Franchise since 2013 because of pending litigation against the NCAA for the use of ahtletes' image, name and likeness. The company has remained silent on the possibility of a new title. As these cases conclude there is hope that there are conversations taking place with EA Sports and the NCAA to prepare a compensation package for the athletes with the hopes to resume the production of these fan favorite titles.
The reason we believe that they will develop a new game is because of the revenue that EA Sports and the NCAA are losing by not being able to produce these games. Yes the student-athletes are a major component of the game, but they are not what drives the revenue. For every graphic that is shown in the game it is directly tied to some form of monetary gain. For gatorade to have their "ads" placed in stadiums is no casual coincidence, there are months of negotiating between EA Sports and any company wanting placements on the video game. The same goes for the music that plays during the games menus, there is a mechanical license that has been bargained for by some publishing company to get their song placed in that title.
EA Sports and the NCAA must resolved these open cases first, but make no mistake about their plans to re-introduce the NCAA College Football Franchise to the public as soon as LEGALLY possible.