Sports video-game giant Electronic Arts will pay out $40 million to college athletes to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that EA Sports's NCAA football and basketball franchises used their likenesses without permission or compensation. This news comes one day after EA Sports announced that they will not produce college version of their popular football game.
That means for the first time ever, college football players will now get paid. Sort of. Between 200,000 and 300,000 current and former athletes can claim a piece of that $40 million, according to the class-action lawsuit's co-lead counsel. That could mean each player receives somewhere between $133 to $200 in a one-time payout, dependent on how many apply (and how much the lawyers get to collect in fees.) There is some question as to whether current players can accept money and maintain their eligibility, although it is believed that players could receive that pay after graduation.
College football beat writer Samuel Mckewon at the Omaha World-Herald notes that the payout is pretty small given the enormous ramifications of the deal.
Players get peanuts/pennies in EA Sports/CLC settlement. http://t.co/7vCLxZCtBH— Samuel McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) September 27, 2013
The lawsuit, first filed by former UCLA hoops player Ed O'Bannon, accused EA, Collegiate Licensing Company, and the NCAA of using player's likenesses in video games, jerseys, and promotional materials without the player's consent. EA and CLP have both settled, but the NCAA remains adamantly against settling the case, and will likely appeal if it were to lose. One of the plaintiff lawyers told ESPN that he sees the case eventually reaching the Supreme Court.