A federal court judge has ruled that EA Sports and the NCAA must pay a $60 million settlement to collegiate athletes depicted in the NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball franchises. One of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Steve Berman, confirmed US District Court judge Claudia Wilken’s ruling on Friday. This is Wilken’s second ruling in favor of college athletes against the NCAA, following a decision handed down in footballer Ed O’Bannon’s injury suit, which also challenged the association’s use of player likenesses without compensation.
Wages for college athletes is a hotly contested issue in the United States, where players are currently eligible to receive only free tuition and small stipends, and these at their schools’ discretion. By contrast, the NCAA’s revenue for 2013 was a whopping $912.8 million. Berman stated that the players’ lawsuit against EA Sports and the NCAA “marks the first time student-athletes will be paid for the [sic] likeness or image.” Athletes have until the end of July to respond to the case, and are each eligible to receive up to $7,026.