EA Is Being Sued By The NCAA For Putting Out, Er, NCAA Games

EA is the butt of jokes and hostility for many gamers, who promptly buy their products anyway. But we’ve finally found a fight where EA are actually in the right! Yes, we finally found somebody worse than EA: The NCAA.

As we told you previously, the NCAA games EA put out became a casualty of a massive NCAA lawsuit said body is likely going to lose. Essentially, current and former college players are taking the NCAA to court over the fact that essentially the NCAA makes millions of dollars, every year, off of players and their likenesses without paying said players a stinking cent. This is problematic for the NCAA not least because it’s really hard to argue you’re not doing that while simultaneously promoting March Madness.

EA’s legal department, not being stupid, immediately saw this as a situation best resolved by coughing up some money. So they settled their part of the case for $40 million.

So why’s the NCAA suing EA? Because according to the NCAA, they’re the poor, pitiful victims here, taken advantage of by that mean old Electronic Arts:

Collegiate Licensing Co., which manages licensing rights for dozens of prominent universities and the NCAA, failed to “adequately supervise” the videogame maker, Electronic Arts or EA Sports, according to a Nov. 4 filing in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Ga.

That lack of supervision “subject[s] the NCAA to potential liability in several lawsuits currently being litigated relating to EA’s alleged use of NCAA student athletes’ names, images, and likenesses in EA’s NCAA-themed video games,” the filing says.

In other words, the NCAA is suing EA for putting out video games that the NCAA approved of, happily put its logo on, and collected millions of dollars for. How dare they!

Sarcasm aside, the real strategy here is to try and drag EA back into the NCAA lawsuit. Part of the problem for the NCAA is that EA settling sounds an awful lot to most people like EA admitting that, yes, they used the player’s likenesses and stats, that the NCAA was OK with it, and the players should be fairly compensated for that. That’s a big problem for the NCAA, since they make nearly a billion dollars a year in television revenue off college sports. It’s also problematic because that’s, well, more or less exactly what happened.

This isn’t over. As for what this means for future college football games… that’s something you’re probably going to have to take up with 2K.