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.