EA, NCAA Players Reach $40 Million Settlement

Student athletes to receive nearly $1,000 per appearance in EA games.

Attorneys representing student athletes who claim Electronic Arts illegally used their likenesses in the company’s popular NCAA Football, Basketball, and March Madness video games will receive nearly $1,000 per appearance in a game from EA. The settlement will amount to a total of around $40 million.

EA and the attorneys representing the student-athletes reached the settlement back in September 2013, but didn’t disclose the details until yesterday, when it filed a motion to approve the settlement. With as much as $951 for each year they were featured in a game, and as many as 100,000 current and former players student athletes appearing in EA sports games since 2003, the settlement could cost EA as much as $40 million.

“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 W. Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and co-lead attorney. “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.”

If the settlement is approved by the court, it will mark the first time an NCAA commercial partner will pay student athletes.

EA and the NCAA ended their licensing deal last year, and while for a time EA continued making licensing deals with individual schools through the Collegiate Licensing Company, in September 2013 it announced it would not make another college football game for 2014.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

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Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer in search of the Citizen Kane of burritos.

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Discussion

72 comments
mr_azim
mr_azim

and next year they'll remove any likenesses.... because face it, no one plays NCAA games.

ghost140
ghost140

Good now if the NFL license get get taken away from EA then maybe we can get some good football games again.

rynoesco
rynoesco

It's really too bad that there won't be anymore college games now. Every year I looked forward to the newest version. I bet most athletes were honored to be in a video game and probably would prefer to keep the games coming instead of taking a cheap dollar.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

College athletes already get excellent compensation for being on a sports team, however it doesn't come in the form of money but in the form of the best tang' the school has to offer!  Well, except for maybe the punter...

jnb58
jnb58

I tried college football and never made a team at my school. I wasn't very athletic compared to my teammates. I sympathize with the athletes on this one.


EA and NCAA profited without compensating the athletes that the games were based on. Many of those players had been injured beyond repair by the NCAA and it's greed. Education is big business in the US and Basketball and Football are billion dollar industries that pay for all the other sports and supplement other things that the school benefits from.


These sports are cash cows for schools unwilling to properly feed and house it's athletes saying the education is payment. Schools don't hold any responsibility for guys that come to school and leave without a degree or leave injured.

ahpuck
ahpuck

Shouldn't it be the NCAA paying the students? It's not as if EA went behind their backs to make them games, they were just following NCAA rules. Not that the rules aren't bad, they are horrible. These student athletes make billions in revenue for the NCAA and they get peanuts in return.

hellzicke
hellzicke

As little as I like EA I am on their side on this. From a gamer point of view there is nothing good coming out from that settlement, licensing is just ridiculous by itself.

hitomo
hitomo

thats not much ... modern slavery is great ^^

calinks
calinks

Maybe they can work out a deal to bring college sports games back down the line now. I need another college hoops.

rpg-god
rpg-god

This is the first step of many in the right direction for student athletes 

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

EA was no worse than the NCAA in terms of exploitation.

hollowtip
hollowtip

I'm getting paid :) I was on a D1 basketball roster for 2005. This is awesome news.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

The gravy train ended for the former Worst Company in America.


Who can they exploit next?

Tigerbite2
Tigerbite2

University of Alabama tuition per semester = $12,000 - $19,000 (in state - out of state)
So those students with full rides (the ones that are "worth" paying) are making $24,000 - $38,000 per year.

Pretty nice money for being 18 - 22 years old.

ohjtbehaaave
ohjtbehaaave

This guarantees EA not putting any $$$ or effort into their Football games for the next 3 years.  Oh wait… that won't be any different than EA's effort over the past 10 years.

Martyr77
Martyr77

Gotta love sports. Guys who can throw a ball get paid bucks while students with PHDs are struggling to find a job that these athletes can't even spell the name of.

sethschroeder07
sethschroeder07

Oh i almost forgot I need to write MLB The Show, I have season tickets to the Brewers behind home and they have someone who is white and is a guy in my seat on the game... I feel like I should get paid because he performs like me with all that clapping after a home run.

Dcyple3000
Dcyple3000

thats so cool for those college guys, if the school and EA getting paid why not the players. its hard enough living on campus with tuition high as it is. 

notorious98
notorious98

@jnb58 The easiest solution to this issue is to allow student athlete's to shill themselves.  They could promote products, be a face for an event, autograph items, etc.  This way players can be paid commensurate to their value to the school.  Then the students would be able to get paid and the NCAA could keep their "integrity" of not actively paying student athletes.  At this point, these athletes have two jobs, school and sports.  Doesn't really leave much time for getting a real job.  Especially when you consider that most scholarships are awarded on a year to year basis.

mrmaizeandblue
mrmaizeandblue

Of course the NCAA jumped ship! The NCAA is the most disgusting, appalling, organization in North American sports. They will say and/or do anything and everything they can to appear like they are supporting whatever side of any issue that seems to have the most public support. There is no integrity on the part of the NCAA and the only thing that the NCAA REALLY gives two shits about is their own image.

notorious98
notorious98

@ahpuck This is true to a point.  I think the court is saying that the NCAA didn't ask enough for licensing rights in order to pay the players for using their likeness.


I remember when Barry Bonds wasn't part of the MLBPA and EA's rights with them didn't include being able to use Barry Bonds.  One season he was a white guy named "John Dowd" or "Larry Dowd".  There is no real point to this, just a slightly amusing anecdote.

mrmaizeandblue
mrmaizeandblue

I liked the College baseball games too. But I think college hockey or college lacrosse would have been awesome to see.

night_drifter05
night_drifter05

@rpg-god And a step in the direction of ruining college sports as we know it. The paying of student's won't last long once fan's stop losing interest when the same school is crushing everyone year in year out because they have the most money. If they ever start doing it, I'll give it MAYBE 10 years before they put a stop to it.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@hollowtip You only get paid if you signed up in one of the class action suits.

notorious98
notorious98

@Thanatos2k It did?  They stopped producing Madden and FIFA every year?  Last I checked, Titanfall was the best selling video game of the last 2 months.  And FIFA is one of the best selling titles every year (regularly leading the charts in Europe).  No, the NCAA wasn't a "gravy train" for EA.  Especially when it doesn't even outsell their other sports titles.  Not including

notorious98
notorious98

@Tigerbite2 And no scholarship is guaranteed.  Get injured playing football and they can snatch that scholarship out from you.  Scholarships are on a per year basis.  Also, $24,000-$38-000 a year is only okay money when you consider they have no choice in how that money is dispersed.  All of it goes to a dorm room, an education, and SOME food.  It doesn't allow for being able to have some fun, own a car, have car insurance, own a cell phone, etc. etc.  An 18 year old that's pulling in $24,000 (right about the average a full time Wal-mart employee makes) has more leeway to make decisions about how to spend their money.

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@Tigerbite2 And their graduation rate is practically zero.


So those 23 year olds aren't making a whole lot while the tide rolls on.

notorious98
notorious98

@Martyr77 I bet the percentage of PHDs without jobs is much, much smaller then the number of college athletes who wind up getting paid to throw a ball.

WllDan7
WllDan7

So if someone made millions of dollars off you and you received nothing I assume you would be cool if it? If no that is how most people would feel. And insulting people is not cool. Everyone is not going to do the same thing. What's next you take a shot at janitors?

mrmaizeandblue
mrmaizeandblue

Apparently you can get $1,000 for every time you appear on the game. Go for it. Wait, wait, wait, you're white. You won't win any legal case. The MLB wouldn't have to feel like they owed you something because of the white guilt.

sethschroeder07
sethschroeder07

@Dcyple3000 Pretty much anyone who gets paid is not in college anymore and if they are in college and take money that is pay for play and they would be banned from all competition. 

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@Dcyple3000 Agreed, but it's still a baby step.  These players are exploited far more by the very schools they play for.  Maybe this'll set a precedent for these guys getting all that they deserve.

jnb58
jnb58

@notorious98 That is a great idea. The rules preventing players from making money is insane.

bizuit
bizuit

@Thanatos2k You don't sign up, with something like this you get the option to eliminate yourself so you can sue them yourself....if he didn't eliminate himself then he was part of the class action lawsuit.

mrmaizeandblue
mrmaizeandblue

Except dropping a players scholarship due to injury is something that you will never see at these big schools because the players have gotten to points where that if they sign on to play a college sport, they're scholarships is guaranteed if they get hurt. They can join on as an undergraduate assistant, team manager, etc. and when they do, look at that that scholarship is still valid.

mrmaizeandblue
mrmaizeandblue

And who's fault is that!?!?!? You can't possibly be implying that it's anyone's fault but the athletes that they don't graduate.

Tigerbite2
Tigerbite2

@olddadgamer @Tigerbite2 Most student-athletes graduate with a Bachelors.  They have strict academic guide lines for them to play.  The ones that get those "special benefits" whether it's "easy" classes or "cheating" are usually the ones that go pro.  Student Athletes are some of the most successful college graduates (referring to the ones that don't go pro.)

mrmaizeandblue
mrmaizeandblue

Dude shut the hell up. These students have it made. I would be absolutely fine with it. If they said that they were gonna give me a free education but they were gonna use my image and make money off of it, I would take that deal in a heartbeat! So would the real majority of most people. And don't even give that "yeah they pay for your education but that's it" because that is more than fair compensation. They pay for food, housing, and all the necessities.

texhooper
texhooper

Most players get more than they deserve. If the top players get what they deserve, there won't be as much money for something. Either sports would be cut, rosters would be cut (like the nfl), or a little bit of both.

notorious98
notorious98

@mrmaizeandblue CBS Sports posted an article after Kevin Ware's injury that discussed the year by year nature of athletic scholarships.  No, they aren't guaranteed scholarships.  Just like academic scholarships demand a certain GPA in order to renew, athletic scholarships demand that you're on the team in order to renew.  If they don't let you back on the team, you no longer have a scholarship.

mrmaizeandblue
mrmaizeandblue

Actually get to go to class!?!?!? What are you talking about? If they would actually commit themselves to getting an education, they would set up their class schedule so that they could have classes scheduled around their practices. I am working two jobs 5 days a week and am still going to class. I have friends that are on the football team and have 5x as much free time as I do. But yeah, you're right. These athletes deserve to be treated better.