As many as 100,000 student-athletes could be set to receive settlement checks from Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company, ranging anywhere from $48 to $951 thanks to a settlement reportedly reached in the last week over the use of player likenesses in a number of NCAA-branded video games published by the software and gaming giant. Knowing that endorsement checks are not allowed under NCAA rules, the organization is making it known no player will be punished for receiving any such check.
“First, under no circumstances will we allow the proposed agreement between EA and plaintiff’s lawyers to negatively impact the eligibility of any student-athlete…not one will miss a practice or a game if this settlement is approved by the court,” a statement from the NCAA confirmed. “This proposed settlement does not equate to payment of current student-athletes for their athletic performance, regardless of how it is being publicly characterized.”
It is a rather obvious move for the NCAA, being the PR master it can be sometimes. The statement by the NCAA could have simply ended there, but instead the official statement even took a swipe at lawyers.
“Second, the real beneficiaries of this settlement are the lawyers, who could pocket more than $15 million,” the NCAA statement continued.
The NCAA was not tied directly to the lawsuit, but their awareness on the lawsuit was heightened as the organization prepares for the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit and a similar lawsuit to follow.
EA Sports has suspended the production of the NCAA Football video game franchise.