College Athletes Reach $40 Million Settlement with EA Sports

May 31, 2014 at 10:14a    by DJ Byrnes    

The Ed O'Bannon suit will go to trial on June 9th in Oakland, but unlike the NCAA, EA Sports has already seen the writing on the wall and cut their losses.

From ESPN:

College football and basketball players have finalized a $40 million settlement with a video game manufacturer and the NCAA's licensing arm for improperly using the likenesses of athletes, leaving the NCAA alone to defend itself in the upcoming Ed O'Bannon antitrust trial.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs filed the settlement agreement with a federal court in Oakland, California, on Friday night in an action that could deliver up to $4,000 to as many as 100,000 current and former athletes who appeared in EA Sports basketball and football video games since 2003.

"I'm thrilled that for the first time in the history of college sports, athletes will get compensated for their performance," said Steve Berman, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs. "It's pretty groundbreaking."

Depending on the number of athletes that sign up, the payments will still only range a few thousand dollars to each player. (23% of the settlement will go to the lawyers, natch.) Not enough to earn a living or anything, but still rather groundbreaking nonetheless. 



jestertcf's picture

So....what you're saying is, I can't play Braxton as senior this year.



~Because we couldn't go for three~

Gametime's picture

Sure you can - on NCAA 14. The guys over at Operation Sports will undoubtingly update the rosters again to keep the best college football game ever going.

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

+2 HS
InTressITrust's picture

Man graphics are getting good.  The only reason I can tell that picture is a video game is by TTUN being ranked.

"I'm not going to lie. We're anxious to be a part of a matchup like that. It's two states that love the game of football." -Jim Tressel

+20 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

Well played sir.


"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

+7 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

322             Boy I wonder why you're getting all those upvotes?

HotSauceCommittee's picture

I watched one episode of this show. It was this one. Brenda Song (and this outfit) now has a place on my island.

stevebelliseeya's picture

EA got off incredibly light here. I think they can handle $40 mil. It makes around $60 mil just in the first Madden release week each year. 

"We are eternal. All this pain is an illusion." - Tool

+2 HS
JKH1232's picture

Eh, $60M probably just gets the budget back- they probably don't get their money back until after that spurt.


jamesrbrown322's picture

So can't they just reach an agreement going forward after the NCAA loses? Seems like all parties would benefit from continuing the franchise. After all, if they lose the suit, could they not then just reach an agreement where the names can be used along with the images?

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

+1 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

I still don't know why they would have to completely discontinue the franchise.  If you play dynasty mode, all of the "real" players are gone after 4 or 5 seasons, and you are recruiting made up players.  Just start the game with the made up players.


+1 HS
BuckeyeBBD's picture

The problem is not that they are using "real" players it is that they are using their likeness. The rosters that have accurate names are made up by third parties and available for download.  EA never published a game with the players names included, instead they would create players with similar attributes such as height, weight, athletic ability at each position, often skin color, playing styles, and the correct number on jerseys.  In NCAA Football 14, the quarterback for OSU (known as QB #5) is 6'2", 220 pounds, black, and classified as a scrambler.  The real Braxton Miller is 6'2", 216 pounds, black, and classified as "Dual Threat" by  When playing the dynasty mode, you are right that it is completely fictionalized after 4-5 seasons, but the every time you play online you play with the rosters that the game starts with.  If you want a game that accurately represents college football every year, it means that they have to use current players and stats to base the in-game characters off of.  If they were to continue to make the game with completely made up characters (to avoid another law suit in the future) rankings and talent would not be accurate for multiplayer or online play.  I would be fine with that though! I play the dynasty and road to glory modes WAY more than online.  I want another game, but I don't think we will get one until the system changes.

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." - Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+1 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

I understand it was just a likeness-I've been playing the franchise for 15yrs.  My point is, I still think people would buy the game if the players were all made up, and then just had access to historical teams, like they have in the past for online features, then, they could work out a deal with the players who were no longer students.

+1 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

But the "historical players," depending on the outcome of the lawsuit, would also then have to be compensated.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

+1 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

That should be easier as they aren't student athletes anymore

Denny's picture

This is a one-time payment? I'd think $40m a year going towards the current players whose likeness is being aped would be more appropriate, but at least it's something.