As the Ed O’Bannon trial began Monday morning in Oakland, the NCAA made an announcement that it had reached another settlement with plaintiffs over “college-themed basketball and football video games produced by Electronic Arts.”
In a release, the NCAA said the settlement will award $20 million to Division I football and men’s basketball players “who attended certain universities during the years the games were sold.” This settlement would mark the end of the litigation brought on by former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller pertaining to the use of athletes’ likenesses in the video games.
The Keller case had been previously scheduled for a March 2015 trial.
This settlement, plus the prior settlement with EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company that was reached last week, “could result in some current FBS football or Division I men’s basketball student-athletes receiving a monetary award from a settlement fund,” per the NCAA.
“With the games no longer in production and the plaintiffs settling their claims with EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company, the NCAA viewed a settlement now as an appropriate opportunity to provide complete closure to the video game plaintiffs,” said NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy.
Any athletes who receive any money from the settlements will not face eligibility issues.
“Consistent with the terms of a court-approved settlement, the NCAA will allow a blanket eligibility waiver for any currently enrolled student-athletes who receive funds connected with the settlement. In no event do we consider this settlement pay for athletics performance,” Remy said.
The Keller settlement brings the total settlement sum for former and current players to $60 million. The NCAA said the “complete details of the settlement remain to be finalized.”
Remy said that this “unique” settlement does not impact the NCAA’s stance that its model of collegiate sports “operates lawfully,” which it will argue in the O’Bannon case.
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