Judge Approves $60 Million Settlement in NCAA Video Game Case
On Thursday, Judge Claudia Wilken approved the proposed settlement agreement between the Sam Keller plaintiffs and the defendants, NCAA, EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC)—$20 million with the NCAA and $40 million with EA Sports and CLC. In an attempt to avoid similar video game related liability in the O’Bannon case, the NCAA argued the $20 million settlement should cover any misappropriation of likeness claims arising from NCAA-branded video games, but Judge Wilken disagreed. Her decision to handle the two similar cases separately would relieve the O’Bannon lawyers’ concern that this settlement might hinder their clients’ ability to seek a video game related injunction against the NCAA.
The agreement contained a revision that removes a $5,000 limit for the current and former NCAA football and men’s basketball players whose likenesses appeared in the games. As the Keller case is a class action suit, if 10% of the eligible class members agree to the settlements, a player featured in the game over four years could recover up to $19,000 in damages. If only 5% approve, then the recoverable damages could be up to $37,000. The class notice for players would likely be sent out in about 60 days.