Even as the potentially game-changing O’Bannon lawsuit gets set to go to trial in a week or so, an agreement has been reached that will put (a little) money in the pockets of some current, but mostly former, college athletes.
As the Associated Press wrote Saturday, “[a] $40 million settlement has been completed that will pay college football and basketball players dating to 2003 for the use of their likenesses in NCAA-branded video games.” The settlement, however, does not include the NCAA and only involves video game maker Electronic Arts as well as Collegiate Licensing Company.
Back in September of 2013, EA Sports announced it was pulling the plug on the popular video game series featuring college football and men’s basketball. The next day, the first reports of a settlement surfaced.
While $40 million seems like a significant amount of money, the fact that the pool of potential claimants could reach six figures dilutes the amount of payout on a per-person basis.
Depending on how many athletes apply for the settlement — a group that attorneys say could contain between 140,000 and 200,000 players who were on football and basketball rosters from 2003 on — the payments could range from as little as $48 for each year an athlete was on a roster to $951 for each year the image of an athlete was used in a video game.
Still, one of the lead attorneys for the players hailed the landmark settlement, which will mark the first time college athletes have been paid for the commercial use of their images..
“We’re incredibly pleased with the results of this settlement and the opportunity to right a huge wrong enacted by the NCAA and EA against these players and their rights of publicity,” said Steve Berman. “We’ve fought against intense legal hurdles since filing this case in 2009 and to see this case come to fruition is a certain victory.”
The AP goes on to note that U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken still must approve the proposed settlement.
A third former Vanderbilt football player will spend a sizable portion of his adult life behind bars.
In June of this year, Brandon Banks was found guilty on one count each of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery related to a 2013 gang rape of an unconscious woman. Friday, Banks was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
In July of last year, one of Banks’ former teammates, Cory Batey, was sentenced to 15 years after being found guilty of aggravated rape. Four months later, another former Vandy football player, Brandon Vandenburg, was sentenced to 17 years after being found guilty of the same charge as Batey. The judge gave Vandenburg a longer sentence than Batey because the former was the leader in the attack and betrayed the woman’s trust.
Banks, Vandenburg, Batey and another ex-Vandy football player, Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenzie, were initially charged Aug. 9, 2013, with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery each after a police investigation determined that the four had raped an unconscious woman.
On June 28 of 2013, Vanderbilt announced that four unnamed players had been indefinitely suspended amid reports that the players were connected to an alleged sex crimes case. The next day, Vandy officials further clarified the players’ statuses, releasing a statement announcing the dismissals of the four. That release further added that none of the four will be permitted to return to campus without permission from the office of student conduct and academic integrity.
McKenzie has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. He has agreed to testify against his former teammates in exchange for what he hopes is a lighter sentence.
I believe this one would qualify as a significant development.
In a very brief press release, Georgia Tech announced Friday afternoon that Dedrick Mills has been dismissed by Paul Johnson from the football team. The only reason given was an unspecified violation of Tech athletics department rules.
The head coach is expected to meet with the media following practice later on this afternoon.
Regardless of the specific reason for the dismissal, Mills’ departure serves as yet another blow for the run-heavy Yellow Jackets.
Last season, Mills’ 771 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns led all Tech ball carriers. 169 of those yards came in the bowl win over Kentucky. Mills put up all of those numbers as a true freshman despite being suspended on two different occasions for a total of three games.
Mills’ dismissal is the second huge blow to their 2017 running game as Marcus Marshall, who was second on the team last season with 624 yards, announced in late November that he would be transferring from Tech. Less than a month later, he moved on to James Madison.
With those twin departures, Clinton Lynch‘s 415 yards last season makes him the team’s leading returning rusher.
As you may know, I’m hardly a fan of the alternate uniform craze. These, though, I can very easily get behind.
Notre Dame on Friday released images of new uniforms the Fighting Irish will wear for their Nov. 18 game against Navy. From helmet to shoes, the new duds will serve as a head-to-toe tribute to the legendary Knute Rockne.
The players will all have the name “ROCKNE” emblazoned on the backs of their jerseys, while the helmets replicate the leather ones of Rockne’s era. The cleats also will pay homage to the era in which Rockne, also a former player at the school, coached the Fighting Irish to five national championships from 1918-1930. In those 13 seasons, the Irish lost just 12 games under Rockne.
Additionally, the sleeves will be adorned with the words from one of Rockne’s most famous speeches.
James Franklin is now in some very heady financial company.
Friday morning, Penn State’s Board of Trustees Committee on Compensation, as expected, unanimously approved an amended contract for their head football coach. While no details were released — that’s expected to happen later today — it’s believed the amended deal will extend through the 2023 season. Franklin’s old contract ran through 2019.
Additionally, Bruce Feldman of SI.com is reporting that the new six-year deal will average $5.8 million annually. What Franklin’s compensation for 2017 and beyond will, again, be divulged later on today.
The average of $5.8 million a year would make him the fourth-highest-paid coach in college football, behind only Alabama’s Nick Saban and a pair of fellow Big Ten coaches — Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.
Set to enter his fourth season with the Nittany Lions, Franklin has an overall record of 25-15 at the school. After a pair of 7-6 seasons to begin his tenure, 2016 was a breakout one for the program as they went 11-3 and won the Big Ten championship for the first time since 2008.
Expectations are extremely high coming off that breakout season as the Nittany Lions are ranked sixth in the preseason coaches’ poll.