The dispute between a number of college athletes and the Electronic Arts official NCAA video games has come to an end. A federal judge in the District Court on Northern California approved the decision to award a total of $60 million to the athletes themselves. This amount covers two settlements. In May, EA and the College Licensing Company agreed to pay $40 million to the players and in June the NCAA agreed to pay $20 million.
The dispute between the athletes and the other entities arose from the fact that college athletes’ names and likenesses appear in the EA NCAA games, but the players receive no compensation for it. This is different than games based on professional sports where the athletes do get compensation. Under this new ruling, a player doesn’t have to have personally appeared in the game to receive compensation.
The site for the EA NCAA Settlement says,”If You Were Listed on the Roster of an NCAA Division I Men’s Football or Basketball Team, and You or Your Team was included in one of EA’s Videogames Released Between May 4, 2003 and September 3, 2014, You Could Be Entitled to Cash Payments.”
Obviously that time period will include a large number of players, so it’s not clear how much each player may be entitled to. Lawyers for the athletes said the amount would vary based on how much they were featured in the game. Someone whose face appeared in the game is likely to receive more than someone whose name appeared on a roster. The lawyers also were optimistic that the players could start receiving compensation as early as September.
EA releases NCAA Football and Basketball games annually. They’re the only games featuring college athletes, and are immensely popular with consumers.