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NCAA will not punish players for lawsuit payout

AP - Sports
NCAA will not punish players for lawsuit payout

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FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2010, file photo, former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon Jr. sits in his office in Henderson, Nev. A $40 million settlement has been completed that will pay college football and basketball players dating to 2003 for the use of their likenesses in NCAA-branded videogames. The payouts could go to more than 100,000 athletes, such as O'Bannon, including some current players, who were either on college rosters or had their images used in videogames made by Electronic Arts featuring college teams. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The NCAA says current college players won't be penalized if they receive part of the payout from a $40 million settlement with videogame maker Electronic Arts.

Last week, the two sides agreed to a deal to settle a lawsuit that contended the company improperly used the images and likenesses of current and former college players.

If the deal is approved by the court, more than 100,000 athletes including some current players could get paid.

Depending on how many athletes apply for the settlement, the payments could range from as little as $48 for each year an athlete was on a roster to $951 for each year the image of an athlete was used in a videogame. Plaintiffs in the case, which dates to 2009, contend the NCAA conspired with Electronic Arts and Collegiate Licensing Co. to illegally use their images or likenesses in videogames.

''Under no circumstances will we allow the proposed agreement between EA and plaintiff's lawyers to negatively impact the eligibility of any student-athlete.not one will miss a practice or a game if this settlement is approved by the court,'' the NCAA said late Wednesday. ''This proposed settlement does not equate to payment of current student-athletes for their athletic performance, regardless of how it is being publicly characterized.''

But the NCAA isn't giving everyone a pass.

While acknowledging it hasn't decided whether to formally object to terms of the settlement, the governing body complained the athletes' lawyers would be the biggest winner because they'll collect $15 million.

Another lawsuit, this one brought by athletes against the NCAA, begins Monday in Oakland California. In that case, the players and ex-players claim the NCAA profited from the videogames while the players being portrayed received nothing. The athletes are challenging the NCAA's ban on paying athletes.

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