Judge Approves $60 Million Settlement In NCAA Player Likeness Lawsuit
The judge presiding over the long-litigated O’Bannon vs. NCAA lawsuit approved a settlement today granting plaintiffs $60 million. The result is that many college athletes could be seeing long overdue paychecks from their appearances in past games.
In May 2014, we reported that student-athletes could see up to $951 for each year they appeared in an NCAA video game. In August 2014, a judge deemed the NCAA’s rules on likeness compensation to be unlawful.
“We are pleased with the decision from Judge Wilken to approve the $60 million combined settlement that will be distributed to hundreds of student-athletes,” said Steve Berman, attorney and managing partner of Hagens Berman in a statement provided to Game Informer. “This landmark decision marks the first time that student-athletes will be paid for their likeness or image, and stands as a huge victory in the ongoing fight for student-athletes’ rights.”
For more on the complicated relationship between the NCAA, game publishers, and athletes, you can read a feature from March written by Matt Kato. In it, he breaks down what went wrong and why we aren’t seeing any more collegiate athletics games.
[Source: Hagens Berman]
This case has been going on since 2009, with litigation lasting for 13 months. For all intents and purposes, fans should come to terms with the fact that NCAA football and basketball games are a thing of the past. It also has the potential to set precedent for other aspects of the NCAA’s operations and whether student-athletes are eligible for compensation in other areas.