NCAA Settles Sam Keller Case for $20 Million

Legal, Licensing

NCAAThe NCAA has reached a proposed $20 million settlement with current and former student athletes in the class action led by former ASU and Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller. If approved by Judge Claudia Wilken, it would be in addition to the $40 million settlement agreed to by EA Sports and CLC less than two weeks ago.

The Keller case involves similar issues as the O’Bannon case, which officially went to trial today: use of player likenesses in EA Sports video games. However, the plaintiffs in the Keller case were seeking monetary damages for current and former student athletes who allege their likenesses were used in the games, while the O’Bannon class is asking for an injunction that would prevent the NCAA from limiting student athlete’s ability to be compensated for use of their names and likenesses in video games, television broadcasts and other forms of marketing. In essence, Keller’s case sought to compensate current and former student athletes whose likenesses have already been allegedly misappropriated, whereas O’Bannon’s case seeks an NCAA rule change that would benefit future student athletes.

“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 lead attorney for the Keller plaintiffs Steve Berman. “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.”

The $20 million will be available for claims by current and former student athletes who competed in FBS football or Division I basketball and who believe their likeness was included in a video game produced by EA Sports since 2005.

“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.

The NCAA has also stated that it will allow current student athletes to make claims and collect settlement funds without risking their eligibility.

Ever wondered how much schools actually made from the EA Sports games? I have the answer here, and it might surprise you.

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