College Athletes Who Appeared in EA Sports Games to Share $60M Settlement

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIMarch 15, 2016

Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller throws a pass against Ball State in the second half of their college football game, in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007. Nebraska beat Ball State 41-40.(AP Photo/Dave Weaver)
Dave Weaver/Associated Press

A total of $60 million will be paid to 24,819 athletes whose likenesses and names were featured in EA Sports video games from 2003 through 2014.

ESPN.com's Darren Rovell reported on the lawsuit settlement Tuesday, indicating the athletes will be paid based on the year the game was released and how their likeness was used in the game. The later the game's release, the more those athletes stand to make from the settlement.  

The last college game EA Sports produced was NCAA Football '14, which went on sale in July 2013.

The lead plaintiffsex-UCLA basketball standout Ed O'Bannon, former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller and past Rutgers signal-caller Ryan Hartwill receive an estimated $15,000 each. Class-action representatives such as former Alabama wide receiver Tyrone Prothro and 20 others stand to collect $5,000 apiece.

Lawyers for the athletes who submitted claims receive 30 percent of the settlement, leaving approximately $1,600 per athlete.

A hearing is slated for Wednesday for players to voice their objections to the lawsuit's resolution, so more athletes may wind up getting a piece of the payout.

Keller filed a separate lawsuit over sports video games that the NCAA settled for $20 million in June 2014, which came just as another video game suit from O'Bannon was getting underway in federal court.

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In August 2014, a judge ruled in O'Bannon's favor, issuing an injunction against the NCAA for its rules prohibiting athletes from profiting off of their likenesses and names in television broadcasts and video games. An appeals court upheld the ruling in September 2015, agreeing that the NCAA's amateurism rules are in violation of federal antitrust laws, but it nixed the lower court's injunction that would have required member schools to pay up to $5,000 per year to Division I football and men's basketball players for their name, image and likeness rights, according to Sports Illustrated's Michael McCann.

On Tuesday, lawyers for the O'Bannon plaintiffs petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their antitrust case against the NCAA, according to CBS Sports' Jon Solomon.

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