EA Sports and CLC agree to $40 million settlement with NCAA athletes
EA Sports, producer of NCAA Football, and the Collegiate Licensing Company, the people in charge of university licensing, have agreed to pay "around $40 million" to settle the lawsuits brought on by former players claiming their likenesses were used without permission or compensation.
No specific details were formally announced, so this remains a rumor from ESPN's "source familiar with the negotiations." Between 200,000 and 300,000 players -- both former and current -- are said to benefit from the settlement. The tricky part is how the NCAA will handle any such financial awards to current players due to its rules which prohibit players from making money from their name as a student athlete.
Although EA did not use specific names, the former college athletes alleged EA Sports used the same jersey numbers, weights, heights, skin tones, hair colors, and home state bios in the players' in-game bios, without permission or compensation. As part of the settlement agreement, however, EA Sports will not admit any wrongdoing and reasoned that "we follow rules that are set by the NCAA -- but those rules are being challenged by some student-athletes."
Earlier this year, the NCAA decided to not renew its license with EA and despite several athletic conferences following suit, EA vowed it would continue making college football games. Earlier this week, though, the company announced no college football game will be released next year.
I'm sure this case is going to get a whole lot uglier as time goes on, but it seems that EA is now somewhat in the clear.