12:46 PM - July 17, 2015 by MMChrisS
The settlement in the Ed O'Bannon case has been approved by Judge Claudia Wilken, at a sum total of $60 million.
Obviously this was not unexpected, this was the next step in the process to finalizing the case and clearing it out of the way. There is a 30-day objection waiting period before the funds can begin to be handed out. The most interesting note from the settlement is that current college players will be paid for their likenesses used in previous games and their eligibility will not be affected from that payment, which will mark a first for collegiate sports.
As far as the future and what this means for any eventual return of college sports games, it is one more hurdle that is cleared. The big one will be the NCAA formalizing a process where players can be paid for their likenesses in video games -- but its not clear if there is much of a push for that at the present time. Any such changes would have to almost certainly be approved at the NCAA general convention in January, but you'd likely hear of plans to bring it up and vote on it before then.
The best case scenario is that all of the stars and moons align, and the legal structures are put in place for a 2017 return for college games, as anything before that seems rather unlikely. Even a 2017 return is unlikely, but it would be the most likely earliest time period you could expect anything.
Update: Late last night, the NCAA decided to file for a stay in the injunction on the O'Bannon case. What this means is that they have decided that they are going to take this case to the highest court (Supreme Court) if need be, thus tying up the suit and the awards being offered for at least a couple more years. If the case gets to the Supreme Court, it'd get there either in 2016 or 2017 -- which means anything I wrote above about college games being possible with a decision from the NCAA is now moot since the case will be tied up for awhile longer. The settlement payments are still going out from EA/CLC however. The prospect of litigation being settled was a crucial step...but now that it is indeed not -- we're back to waiting for litigation to be settled. Viva la NCAA Football 14?