EA & NCAA to pay out $60 million to allegedly exploited student athletes

By Brenna Hillier, Monday, 9 June 2014 22:46 GMT

Student athletes who sued EA and the NCAA over their allegedly exploitive appearances video games will benefit from settlement payouts of $60 million.

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EA recently settled with attorneys representing the students, agreeing to a payout of $40 million. The NCAA at first sued EA for coming to this agreement, but has now itself agreed to pay out a further $20 million.

It’s the first time the NCAA has agree to settle on a case pertaining to the use of names, images and likenesses in licensed products, despite allegedly profiting from them for years thanks to games like NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball and NCAA March Madness – as well as other media.

It’s not surprising that the NCAA was reluctant to make the deal, as it sets a precedent which may prove very costly for the student athletics association.

“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,” lead attorney Steve Berman said of the case.

“We’ve long held through our various cases against the NCAA that the student-athlete is treated poorly in everything from scholarships to safety. This settlement is a step toward equity and fairness for them.”

NCAA athletes are barred from earning any money from their athletic endeavours while they participate in the association, which naturally means they feel a bit disgruntled when EA and the NCAA have minted it on games allegedly containing the players’ personal details.

Still, it hasn’t been a highly profitable enterprise for the protesting students; each athlete in the case is now expected to receive over $1,000 per year they appeared in an EA game, with some to receive more.

“We were equally resolute that anyone – even a student-athlete playing under scholarship – should not be exploited for profit, especially by the organization that vowed to prevent the athlete from exploitation,” Berman added.

EA and the NCAA have since ended their licensing agreement.

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