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NCAA sues Electronic Arts over settlements with student-athletes

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association has filed suit against NCAA Football publisher Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company over a proposed settlement with former college athletes regarding the use of the players' likenesses in EA's video games, according to a report from USA Today.

The NCAA's suit reportedly alleges that EA and the CLC breached certain contractual obligations related to maintaining liability insurance to protect against third-party claims and cover attorneys fees incurred defending against those claims.

The suit seeks to stop EA and the CLC from going through with a proposed settlement, which could cost EA upwards of $40 million. Additionally, the NCAA seeks to protect itself of liability in future judgments related to EA's NCAA titles.

The EA and CLC settlement would apply to both the antitrust and right-of-publicity suits that the publisher and licenser were facing. Former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon originally filed the antitrust suit, while the right-of-publicity suit was filed by Sam Keller, a former quarterback for Arizona State University and the University of Nebraska.

In a statement to USA Today, the CLC says it's "caught in the middle of a dispute between NCAA and EA which should not involve us."

In September, EA Sports announced it was canceling next year's NCAA Football game, saying it was evaluating the college football franchise's future.

"The ongoing legal issues combined with increased questions surrounding schools and conferences have left us in a difficult position — one that challenges our ability to deliver an authentic sports experience, which is the very foundation of EA Sports games," said Cam Weber, general manager of American football at EA Sports, at the time.

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