NCAA settlement of O'Bannon lawsuit would require payment, says plaintiff attorney

USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA hasn't discussed a settlement, but if it did, it would cost them financially.

A lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit said the plaintiffs are open to a settlement, but any deal would require the NCAA to make a financial payment to the plaintiffs and make changes to the benefits current athletes receive, according to a report from USA Today.

Michael Hausfeld, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said they are willing to discuss a settlement anytime "anyone wants to have a responsible conversation." He told USA Today that in order to resolve all legal aspects, the deal would have to "address the monetary aspects and the restraint aspects."

Thus far, the two sides have not discussed a settlement with NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy, recently saying the NCAA is not prepared to compromise. While no discussions have occurred yet, that could change with a pair of upcoming rulings. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken is yet to rule on the NCAA's motion to dismiss the case and the plaintiffs' request to certify the case as a class action lawsuit. If the judge rules against the NCAA, it may be more willing to discuss a settlement.

The plaintiffs recently reached a $40 million settlement with Electronic Arts and Collegiate Licensing Co, leaving the NCAA as the lone defendant. Depending on the judge's ruling, a settlement for the NCAA could be much more costly.

In addition to the monetary payment, Hausfeld said any settlement would need to address the "shortfalls" between the NCAA's relationship with student athletes. That includes better health insurance and safety standards, an increase in the value of scholarships and giving athletes "a voice."

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