College athletes whose names, images and likenesses were used in video games distributed and published between May 2003 and September 2014 are one step closer to receiving their portion of a settlement agreed upon last year.
According to USA Today, US District Judge Claudia Wilken gave approval of the $60 million settlement, to which more than 20,000 college basketball and college football players have filed claims. For those who have yet to file a claim, they now have until July 31 to do so and current college athletes who may be impacted will not risk their eligibility by taking the settlement.
Judge Wilken still has to issue final written approval of the settlement, which would then trigger a 30-day period in which objections can be filed. If there are no objections, that would then begin the process of athletes receiving their portion of the settlement. According to the report Steve Berman, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case, estimates that athletes who received maximum exposure (based in part upon how many years they played in college) in the games could receive up to $7,200.
What also helps the athletes in regards to how much money they could see from this is Judge Wilken’s statement regarding legal costs and fees due to the attorneys.
Speaking after a hearing Wilken held in California, Steve Berman said the judge also agreed to extend the deadline for affected athletes to file a claim through July 31. Berman also said Wilken told the attorneys involved in the case that she might be inclined to reduce the costs and fees that they will be awarded to 30% of the settlement rather than 33%. That would increase the amount of money available to affected athletes.
EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) settled with the plaintiffs in the “Ed O’Bannon lawsuit” in September 2013, which left the NCAA as the lone remaining defendant in that case. Judge Wilken ruled in favor of the plaintiffs last summer, with the NCAA responding by filing an appeal that was heard in mid-March.
Earlier this week it was ruled that the NCAA would have to pay $46 million in legal fees as a result of the lawsuit.