NCAA settles for $20 million in Keller v. NCAA lawsuit


The Ed O’Bannon lawsuit isn’t the only news involving college athletes and legal matters regarding the use of their likenesses to break on Monday.

The NCAA and the attorneys representing former student-athletes in a lawsuit claiming that the NCAA and EA Sports illegally used the athletes’ likenesses in video games announced that a settlement has been reached. The NCAA will pay the plaintiffs $20 million, which will be added to the $40 million that EA Sports agreed to pay to the plaintiffs last week.

“This is the first time in the history of the NCAA that the organization is paying student-athletes for rights related to their play on the field, compensating them for their contribution to the profit-making nature of college sports,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and lead attorney in the Keller v. NCAA, et al. litigation. “We’ve long held through our various cases against the NCAA that the student-athlete is treated poorly in everything from scholarships to safety. This settlement is a step toward equity and fairness for them.”

“With the games no longer in production and the plaintiffs settling their claims with EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company, the NCAA viewed a settlement now as an appropriate opportunity to provide complete closure to the video game plaintiffs,” said NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy in a statement.

U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken, who is presiding over the O’Bannon v. NCAA litigation, must must grant preliminary approval of the settlement.

The NCAA also announced that they have agreed to a preliminary settlement to drop lawsuits against EA and Collegiate Licensing Company.

Remy, however, did add that this settlement does not change their opinion that the way that their business model — amateurism — is legal, which is what is essentially being tried in the O’Bannon case.

“The collegiate model of sports provides hundreds of thousands of student-athletes with unmatched opportunities for education, growth, mentoring, and future success,” Remy said.