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Report: EA Sports to pay out $40 million

The SportsXchange

Video game producer EA Sports and College Licensing Company will pay about $40 million to settle two lawsuits by former college players whose likenesses were used without compensation, ESPN reported Friday.

Attorney Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, said that 200,000 to 300,000 former players will benefit from the settlement. Berman was co-lead counsel in the class-action lawsuit.

Current players can reportedly participate in the settlement. The NCAA determines if payments to current players will affect their eligibility.

It has not been determined how the money will be divided. Most of lawsuits' focus has been on EA Sports' college football game. Since the lawsuit brought by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon was also settled, former players who did not appear in video games will still reportedly receive some kind of compensation.

The video games did not use the players' names, but alleged that EA Sports used the same jersey numbers, heights, weights, skin tones, hair colors and home states in its in-game bios without their permission and compensation.

EA Sports announced Thursday that it would not produce a college football video game next year and it is uncertain whether a new version will return in the future.

The decision came after the video games manufacturer settled the lawsuits in U.S. District Court in northern California.

The cases that EA Sports settled include former Arizona State and Nebraska football player Sam Keller's class-action filing regarding publicity rights against the NCAA, EA and CLC over the use of college athletes' names and likenesses in video games. The other was an anti-trust case filed by a group of former and current college football and men's basketball players led by O'Bannon.

EA Sports still faces lawsuits filed by former Rutgers football Ryan Hart and former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston.

The NCAA announced in July that it would not renew its contract with EA Sports and the Southeastern Conference, Big Ten and Pac-12 followed suit.

EA Sports annually sells about 2 million copies of NCAA Football, according to industry reports.
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