EA Sports Settles with College Athletes

Electronic Arts Sports and the licensing arm of the NCAA reached a settlement in a long-running dispute over payment to former college athletes for use of their images in video games.

The amount of the deal and details were not disclosed in a court order posted late Thursday.

The lone defendant remaining is the NCAA itself.  The deal was reached with former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and could set the stage for compensation for student-athletes to share in the profits from major university sports.

EA Sports also announced that it would not publish a 2014 college football video game and is working to settle the case with those athletes.

The one-page announcement said the settlement would resolve all claims between the athletes and EA, and Collegiate License Co., but the pact “does not affect plaintiffs’ claims against defendant National Collegiate Athletic Association.”

The terms will remain confidential until they are presented to the court for approval.

Word of the deal was first reported by the Birmingham News late Thursday online.

Former UCLA basketball star, O’Bannon, and other players filed claims against the NCAA, EA Sports and CLC engaged in antitrust violations by marketing the images and names of players long after they left college, but without their permission.

Joining O’Bannon in the suit were stars Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson.

Players contend they were required to sign away the rights to their images and names in perpetuity in order to play college sports.

The NCAA allegedly then used those rights to negotiate lucrative TV contracts, rebroadcast rights for games and the sale of clothing and games linked to particular players.

Case:  O’Bannon v. NCAA, No. 09-1967CW



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