A judge has approved a $60 million settlement offered by EA and the NCAA over unauthorized use of student athlete likeness in NCAA titles.
In June of last year, EA 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 eventualy agreed to a $20 million settlement with the ex-NCAA athletes.
The lawsuit was filed over players having the ability to create characters based on and named after real world competitors. The lawsuit stated this was unauthorized use of identity as players could draw upon real statistics such as height and weight, athlete’s names and more.
Plaintiffs’ attorney, Steve Berman, of Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro issued the following statement today regarding the approved $60 million settlement:
“We are pleased with the decision from Judge Wilken to approve the $60 million combined settlement that will be distributed to hundreds of student-athletes.” he said. “This landmark decision marks the first time that student-athletes will be paid for their likeness or image, and stands as a huge victory in the ongoing fight for student-athletes’ rights.
The suit stated that using a player’s name, picture or likeness violated contracts and licensing agreements noted in NCAA bylaws.
We’re sure everyone involved will be pleased to put all of this behind them, as it’s been going on for around six years.
In 2009, former Nebraska football student-athlete Sam Keller filed a lawsuit objecting to the use of his likenesses as well as those of former and current student-athletes as in-game avatars. The suit also objected to the use of photographs and promotions.
The lawsuit later was consolidated with separate cases filed by former UCLA basketball student-athlete Ed O’Bannon, former Cincinnati basketball student-athlete Oscar Robertson and others. In 2012, the suit expanded to include current student-athletes at the time.