In a ruling that may begin to bring down the notion of the amateur student athlete as we know it, EA has been ordered to pay a $60 million settlement to student athletes for the use of their name, image, and likeness in the EA Sports NCAA Football video game series. The series was discontinued in 2013 due to the suit, but prior to that it was obvious that the players in the game were based off the actual student athletes, using their numbers and stats, even if their names were not on the uniforms.
This likely means that there will be no more NCAA Football video games again. Trying to clear name, image, and likeness with all the athletes in every football program would be a nightmare, since they’re not represented by a professional union like pro players. It’s already been ruled that student athletes can profit off their name, image, and likeness although that ruling is being appealed. It will be interesting to see how the NCAA handles this, because as high and mighty as they may want to get about preserving the sanctity of the student athlete, all the schools whose logos were used in those games were definitely appropriately compensated. I don’t see how they can justify paying to use a logo, but not paying to use the physical attributes of high-profile (or even low-profile) college players. It would have been easy enough to come up with fake stats for the line-ups, but they clearly wanted the boost that would come with using the actual players without naming them.
All athletes who feel they have a right to compensation have until July 31st to file a claim for their share of the $60 million. If you know anyone who played Division I college football in the last ten years, definitely pass this along.