NCAA settles video game suit from ex-players for $20M

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Indianapolis, IN, United States (4E Sports) – The NCAA announced that it has settled a pending lawsuit for $20 million with current and former college athletes seeking compensation based on the unauthorized use of their likenesses in video games produced by Electronic Arts (EA).

The settlement came on the day a major college sports-related trial was set to begin between lead named plaintiff Ed O’Bannon and the NCAA.

The proceeds from the $20 million settlement will be awarded to a select group of current and former Division I men’s basketball and Division I Bowl Subdivision football college athletes.

The funds supplement the $40 million already guaranteed to said college athletes based upon two prior settlements with former defendants EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC).

However, final settlement details have not yet been drafted and the agreement itself has yet to be approved by the court.

If approved, it will signify an end to the protracted litigation over monetary damages stemming from use of players’ likenesses in the NCAA Football video game series without formerly providing them payment for said use.

It also sets aside a lawsuit filed by the NCAA against EA and the CLC wherein the NCAA alleged that the NCAA was improperly subjected to potential liability based on the CLC’s failure to adequately supervise EA in the creation of the NCAA Football line of products and that EA failed in withholding any inclusion of college athlete names and likenesses in its video games.

The settlement, according to the NCAA’s general counsel, will not affect the league’s strong belief that the NCAA is acting lawfully in continuing to restrict college athletes from receiving compensation while in college for group licensing of their names and likenesses.

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