Report: EA Sports, Collegiate Licensing Company settle suits by O'Bannon plaintiffs

Thursday September 26th, 2013

EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company have settled all claims brought about by the O'Bannon vs. NCAA antitrust lawsuit, which surrounds the rights to names, images and likenesses of student-athletes, Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News reports.

The settlement by the two companies leaves the NCAA as the lone defendant in the O'Bannon case. In a USA Today report on Thursday, the NCAA said it is prepared to fight the suit all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

According to court documents obtained by Solomon:

Terms of the settlements are confidential until presented to the court for preliminary approval, the filing said. "This settlement does not affect Plaintiffs' claims against Defendant National Collegiate Athletic Association," the filing stated.

Dennis Dodd of reports that the settlement could impact more than 100,000 student-athletes:

The settlement will affect more than 100,000 current and former college players who have appeared in the basketball and football versions of EA Sports' video games since 2003. It was not immediately clear if the eligibility of current players will be affected by accepting settlement checks.


Essentially each player who has appeared in the football and basketball games marketed by EA in the last decade – approximately 125,000 men – are eligible for settlement money. According to court documents filed Thursday and obtained by the settling parties are in the process of preparing documents for the court to approve in order to disburse the money.

It is not yet clear whether or not settlement money awarded to current student-athletes would affect their eligibility. Student-athletes are not permitted to receive outside benefits per NCAA rules. EA Sports announced on Thursday that it will not release a version of its popular NCAA football game next year, citing legal concerns and a lack of support from the NCAA and college conferences.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.