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EA settles NCAA student-athlete cases, no game next year

An overview shows the Electronic Arts EA exhibition stand during the Gamescom 2013 fair in Cologne August 21, 2013. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender
An overview shows the Electronic Arts EA exhibition stand during the Gamescom 2013 fair in Cologne August 21, 2013. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

By Malathi Nayak

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Electronic Arts said it had reached a settlement with former college football athletes who have accused the company of using their images without permission and would not be making a new game for the popular "NCAA Football" series in 2014.

The athletes sued the video game publisher and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which has strict rules prohibiting them from sharing in the millions of dollars that schools receive from television and licensing deals. The case against the NCAA is still pending.

Electronic Arts' move follows a decision by the NCAA in mid-July to not renew a contract to license its name and logo for EA's college football game.

Its most recent installment in the series, "NCAA Football 14", which was launched in July, is one of the company's major sports games releases this year alongside "Madden" football and "FIFA" soccer video games.

Terms of the settlement were not made public. It now awaits the approval of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Some of the claims covered by athletes include those of former Arizona State University quarterback Samuel Keller, West Virginia football player Shawne Alston and Rutgers University star quarterback Ryan Hart, according to a statement by Seattle-based law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, which represented Keller.

Shares in EA were little changed in after-hours trading after closing at $26.15 on the Nasdaq on Thursday.

(Editing by Nick Zieminski, Leslie Adler and Edwina Gibbs)

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