A civil suit by former student-athletes will be going to court, as US District Judge Claudia Wilken has refused to dismiss their class action suit, alleging Electronic Arts conspired to use the likenesses of NCAA student athletes without compensation. EA and the NCAA are accused of colluding with each other, causing players to sign away their rights. This was the only part of the entire suit that was allowed to go to court.
According to the suit, students were required to waive their rights by signing a form giving EA permission to use their likenesses, even after their college career was over.
Wilken's ruling states, "The agreement does not distinguish between former and current student-athletes, even though, in the next sentence, it acknowledges that both may be encompassed within the word 'athlete.' In the context of antitrust plaintiffs' other allegations, on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, these terms can fairly be read to evidence a 'meeting of the minds' between EA and the other defendants not to compensate former student-athletes, where such a contract would interfere with the student-athletes' existing agreements with the NCAA."
How large is the suit? One estimate claims that the cost to EA and the NCAA could reach $1 billion.