Attorney Steve Berman has issued a brief statement on the NCAA's decision to let its licensing agreement with EA expire next year. Berman is the managing partner of law firm Hagens Berman and co-lead counsel in a class-action lawsuit filed by former college athletes against the NCAA and Electronic Arts. The lawsuit, detailed by the law firm here, alleges that EA's NCAA branded sports games used players' likenesses without permission and without providing compensation.
"It’s apparent to us that the NCAA’s decision to end its long and hugely profitable relationship with EA is tied directly to the pressure our litigation is bringing the bear," said Berman. "Our suit illustrates how the cabal between the NCAA and EA has exploited student athletes for years, using their images in video games without compensation. While we are heartened they’ve stopped the practice, we believe they owe those student athletes a great deal more than their implied promise to stop stealing their images."
"This announcement makes plain that the NCAA is attempting to mitigate the damage by ducking its responsibilities," he continues. "We look forward to taking this case to trial and winning compensation for student-athletes whose likenesses were used without their permission, in violation of both the NCAA’s rules and the law."
EA also announced yesterday that it will continue to develop and publish college sports games after the NCAA licensing agreement expires. Obviously the games won't feature the NCAA branding, but the company can still work with schools and teams to lend authenticity to the game.