EA Sports announced Thursday that the video game company wouldn't produce a 2014 edition of its beloved college football franchise, and that it had reached a settlement for its part in the O'Bannon case. That settlement, which is also being paid by the Collegiate Licensing Company, is worth $40 million, according to the New York Times.
Attorney Michael Hausfeld, who represents the players in the case, confirmed the figure to the Times. But, just how the money will be distributed has not yet been determined. The settlement affects roughly 125,000 current and former football and basketball players, per CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd, which would average out to approximately $320 per player. But ESPN reports the number could be more like 300,000, which would make the initial average something like $133.
However, that's before lawyer fees and taxes, so it's really unclear just how much money the average player is set to receive.
The NCAA hasn't said whether or not it will allow current players to accept money from the settlement. After all, that would compromise their amateur status, which really illustrates the point of how dysfunctional the current structure of college athletics is.
With EA and the CLC out of the O'Bannon lawsuit, the NCAA is the only remaining defendant, and it doesn't plan on backing down anytime soon. With video games and merchandising out of the picture, the lawsuit now is all about television money the NCAA, college conferences and individual programs make while showing the exploits of student-athletes. It's unimaginable that the NCAA would cease television broadcasts, so the lawsuit has great potential to reach the United States Supreme Court.
The O'Bannon suit is not yet class action, but if Judge Claudia Wilken rules that the current and former players all have a similar claim, the NCAA could be on the hook for billions of dollars in damages.