EA Sports wants out of the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit before the class certification ruling, according to Jon Solomon at AL.com. EA is a defendant in the suit along with the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Company. Current and former college athletes are suing over the use of their likenesses in video games -- among other things -- and the financial costs of a defeat are potentially devastating should the plaintiffs get class certification.
EA seems to be arguing in effect that it doesn't really have anything to do with the crux of the issue -- that this is the NCAA's battle.
EA wrote that it "should not be forced to continue to litigate this case for another six months (or more), until dispositive motions on liability are briefed and decided, all based on a complaint that fails as a matter of law." EA argued that addressing the legal sufficiency of the O'Bannon plaintiffs' claims now would "significantly simplify" the case for the court and the remaining parties.
"The main thrust of Plaintiffs' case is the NCAA's rules and the alleged effects those rules have on revenues from broadcast licensing," EA wrote.
The NCAA recently made the decision to sever its ties with EA Sports' college football game, and beginning in 2014, the game will no longer include the NCAA brand or logos. That was a bit of damage control on the NCAA's part, and a telling sign that there is deep concern within the governing body over the potential outcome of this lawsuit.
This worry is by no means unfounded. The O'Bannon side has a legitimate case, and defeat for the NCAA in a class-action suit could put its existence in jeopardy. At the least, it would make for some sweeping changes to the landscape of major college athletics.