EA Sports’ NCAA Athletes Will Be Paid $60 Million, Judge Rules


It’s amazing to think that, with a no-brainer of an idea such as paying collegiate athletes for their likeness and performance (which helps the NCAA earn almost a billion dollars in revenue last year), that the first shoe to drop comes from the world of video games. CBS Sports reports that a U.S. District Judge has approved of a $60 million combined settlement against Electronic Arts, Collegiate Licensing Company and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

This means that many of the 20,000-plus claimants whose appearances, images and names used in EA Sports’ NCAA video games for profit will be paid for their services.

All players who appeared on an NCAA Division I Men’s Football or Basketball team roster that was also included in any of the EA Sports’ video games released between May 4, 2003 and September 3, 2014 is entitled to a part of the settlement. Any outstanding players who have not made a claim can do so here. A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Steve Berman, suggests the deadline to seek payment will be extended to July 31, 2015. That gives them two weeks after the settlement has been approved of by the judge.

Currently, a player can receive a maximum of $7,200, however, the attorney’s fees may be reduced by 3% in order to maximize money going towards those who appeared in EA Sports’ NCAA games.

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This is not only a great day for student-athletes currently within the NCAA, but also to those who have since left. The current system is borderline indentured servitude, with young athletes forced to adhere to if they want to compete for the lottery ticket of playing in professional sports. Should an athlete sustain a career-ending injury, in many cases, they won’t get healthcare coverage by their college, lose their sports-centered scholarships and are left paying the exorbitant bills. That $7,200 maximum from EA Sports and the NCAA will go a long way to those shafted by the college system they once trusted.

The NCAA currently prohibits any players from profiting off of using their own name and likeness from playing their sport. Yet, here we are, with a District Judge ruling that EA Sports and the NCAA were in the wrong for cutting them out. EA Sports has even distanced themselves from the issue by halting the release of said games. Instead of pretending collegiate athletes are lucky to be earning a college education (not sure what an average US citizen needs to learn Swahili for), how about just treat them like employees that bring in millions of dollars in profit?

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