NCAA Reaches $20 Million Settlement With Former Players Over Video Game Likenesses

Business / Gaming


The NCAA on Monday announced that they’ve come to a $20 million settlement with former NCAA Basketball and Football players over their likenesses being used in video games.  This settlement will go to former players that could not receive compensation for their likeness while they were in school due to eligibility and amateurism rules in college sports.  This comes shortly after a similar settlement between Electronic Arts (EA) and former college players over the same issue.  The settlement in that case was $40 million.  The Associated Press breaks down how these damages will be awarded.

From the AP:

The $60 million worth of settlements cover claims made in the Keller and O’Bannon cases against EA, along with two other cases, attorney for the plaintiffs Steve Berman said. The agreement announced Monday covers Division I men’s basketball and Bowl Subdivision football players whose images, likenesses or names were included in game footage or in an EA video game after 2005. The $40 million settlement covers athletes to 2003, even if they were not in the video games.

Final details were still being worked out. How much each player gets will be determined by how many athletes file claims. Based on historical trends, Berman said, payments to Division I men’s basketball and Bowl Subdivision football players are expected to range from $400 to $2,000 each.



It’s always seemed a bit odd to me that the NCAA, EA, and potentially other game developers were able to use the likenesses of college athletes in the first place.  The NCAA has myriad rules and regulations preventing college athletes from gaining any sort of sponsorships, payments, or even gifts during their college eligibility, but the NCAA and EA turned around and used close approximations of the players faces, and skills to sell video games.

The NCAA has since prohibited EA from using it’s name and logo in any future games.  While I’d imagine this will be a blow to the NCAA’s pocketbook, it’s probably preferable to paying millions of dollars to former players.  What do you think?  Should college athletes receive compensation outside of any potential scholarships?  Let us know in the comments below, or on the social network of your choice.


Source: The Associated Press



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