In a class-action lawsuit brought against game publisher Electronic Arts seemingly decades ago, student athletes asked for compensation related to the money EA made selling college sports-related games. Today, that lawsuit has finally closed, as EA has agreed to pay tens of millions of dollars to current and former student-athletes.
The “EA to Pay” settlement, which we’d love to see the NCAA try to ban for “player compensation,” resolves EA’s liability in a lawsuit brought by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon.
“This is a historic settlement,” said lead attorney Michael Hausfeld. “This settlement represents an acknowledgment that the NCAA’s rules barring payment to current and former players cannot stand.”
Like we said, the case could hold some significant ramifications for college player compensation. Earlier this year, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was suspended for one half of his season opener simply for appearing improper in some autograph-signing dealings. If this settlement paves the way for future student-athlete compensation, the NCAA could be up to its ears in inquiries.
Interestingly, the settlement leaves the NCAA as the sole defendant in O’Bannon’s antitrust case. The case alleges a conspiracy by the NCAA and its member schools, to license and sell the names, images, and likeness of current and former student-athletes without compensation to those student-athletes.
The NCAA and its co-conspirators have collectively reaped billions of dollars in revenue from the license and sale of game footage, video games, photographs, apparel, trading cards, and other memorabilia containing the names, images, and likenesses of current and former student-athletes without paying a cent to those whose names, images, and likenesses were used. A decision by the judge as to whether to certify the class is pending.