EA Sports And CLC Finalize Video Game Settlement With Former Players

Four class-action suits brought by former NCAA players against EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company were settled back in September 2013 for $40 million, but aside from the amount, most of the other terms needed ironing out. On Friday night, the parties filed a settlement with the U.S. District Court for Northern California laying out those remaining terms. The settlement, again, does not include claims made against the NCAA.

District Judge Claudia Wilken will review the terms and determine whether to start disbursing the funds to the classes. As you can guess by the total ticket price, most players won't be getting much. The lead plaintiffs will get more, since they lent their names to the suit and actively participated in it. Other eligible players can opt in to the settlement. In all, over 100,000 former and current football and basketball players could be eligible.

The named plaintiffs will receive the following amount of money:

* $15,000 to former Arizona State/Nebraska football player Sam Keller

* $15,000 to former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon

* $15,000 to former Rutgers football player Ryan Hart

* $5,000 to former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston

* $5,000 to the remaining plaintiffs who were deposed

* $2,500 for all other named plaintiffs

For players opting in, it gets fudgier. The more players who opt in and have a valid claim to do so, the less each player would receive. You've probably been involved in something similar, either concerning debit card fees or Netflix privacy concerns. You get a little post card in the mail notifying you of your eligibility to take part in the settlement, you send it back, opting in, and months later you get a check for $3.62.


The attorneys estimate that players who appeared in a video game from 2003 to 2005 would receive between $96 and $517 per roster year appearance, depending on how many people make claims. For players who appear in video games since 2005, the estimate is $166 to $951 per roster year appearance. If a player only appeared on a roster and not a video game from 2005 to 2014, the range is $48 to $276 per roster year.

For example, if a player at the University of California appeared in the video game for four seasons from 2007 through 2011, and assuming a 50 percent claims rate, that player's estimated recovery would be $1,328 to $1,904. In another example, if a player was on Cal's roster for four seasons from 2005 to 2009 but did not appear in the video game, and assuming a 25 percent claims rate, that player would recover between $772 and $1,104.

There's also language in the settlement that addresses issues in hammering down legitimate claims, such as distinguishing players that, like in football, may have shared a number with someone on the team.

The O'Bannon anti-trust and Keller right-of-publicity suits remain active against the NCAA. The O'Bannon trial is scheduled to begin on June 9th, while the Keller trial is set to begin in March 2015. On Thursday, trying for the fifth time to delay the O'Bannon trial, the NCAA filed an emergency petition claiming that due to overlapping issues in both, a ruling on O'Bannon before the Keller case was heard by a jury would violate the Seventh amendment, which guarantees a jury trial and limits courts ability to overturn a jury's finding of fact. A decision is expected by June 9th.


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