Lawyer responds to NCAA's dropping of EA Sports: 'Tied directly to the pressure our litigation is bringing'
Steve Berman, the managing partner of law firm Hagens Berman, believes the NCAA's decision to end its relationship with EA Sports is due to litigation pressure. Berman is currently co-lead counsel in a class-action lawsuit filed by former college athletes against the National Collegiate Athletic Association and Electronic Arts alleging the gaming giant’s games used their likenesses without permission.
“It’s apparent to us that the NCAA’s decision to end its long and hugely profitable relationship with EA is tied directly to the pressure our litigation is bringing the bear," he told GameZone.
“Our suit illustrates how the cabal between the NCAA and EA has exploited student athletes for years, using their images in video games without compensation," he said. "While we are heartened they’ve stopped the practice, we believe they owe those student athletes a great deal more than their implied promise to stop stealing their images.
“This announcement makes plain that the NCAA is attempting to mitigate the damage by ducking its responsibilities. We look forward to taking this case to trial and winning compensation for student-athletes whose likenesses were used without their permission, in violation of both the NCAA’s rules and the law.”
Electronic Arts has already stated that it will continue to develop and publish college football games, despite the NCAA's decision to not renew its contract with EA Sports. In fact, recent reports indicate EA has reached a deal with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) -- the entity that handles trademark licensing and marketing services for universities -- to continue creating college football games for at least the next three years. However, the new deal is said to be non-exclusive, meaning other publishers can now enter the fray of college football video gaming.