Electronic Arts could pay as much as $40 million to a potential 100,000 student athletes according to the terms of a recently revealed settlement.
For a long time, Electronic Arts and the College Licensing Company were on the winning side of an arguably lousy deal. EA would make millions selling games featuring the names and likenesses of student athletes, while said athletes wouldn't receive a dime for it. That arguable exploitation would, in turn, lead to several lawsuits from understandably miffed sports players who weren't too keen on the whole "raking in dough with my name thing." Said lawsuits came to a close last year after EA and the CLC agreed to settle with the aggrieved players. Now, the potential terms of said settlement have been revealed.
According to reports, EA and the CLC could wind up paying a proposed $40 million to more than 100,000 student athletes who have had their likeness used in NCAA video games. Among those potentially eligible for the settlement are 7,000 current student athletes. The inclusion of current athletes could pose a problem for the NCAA which still imposes a rule banning student players from earning money from their sports activities, though there has been some recent precedent moving away from that.
The amount paid to each athlete, in turn, may vary depending on several factors. While several of the central plaintiffs will receive larger amounts, other players could receive smaller or larger rewards depending on how many eligible athletes opt into the case. Likewise, the amount of each individual payout will vary depending on how many games a player was featured in and during what time period said games were released. Attorneys estimated, for instance, that athletes who appeared in NCAA titles between 2003 and 2005 could receive between $96 and $517 per game.
If "a certain number" of players opt out of the settlement, meanwhile, EA has the option of cancelling it. While we imagine that the potential for more money might convince some to push for a better deal, we somehow suspect the draw of quick cash will keep that from being an issue.
Source: CBS Sports