When EA Sports College Football was announced, fans everywhere rejoiced at the return of AAA college football video games with official licensing. Since that news broke, however, there have been far more questions about the participating schools and conferences than anything else.
We’ve seen just one school — Illinois — come out publicly to announce its participation in the game. One the other side of things, three schools — Notre Dame, Tulane, and Northwestern — have said they won’t be a part of the game. The reasoning for opting out stems from the lack of an NIL agreement. That agreement would allow players to be compensated for their likeness and play history being in the game.
In a statement sent to SGO, EA Sports reasserted the fact that player likeness is not planned. The company also reassured fans that there are still more than 100 schools slated to be a part of the game.
“While it’s early days in our return to College Football, we are committed to creating an authentic college football experience. We’ve said from the start that player name, image and likeness is not currently planned for the game. However, we are watching the developments in this area closely and are prepared to take steps to include players should that opportunity arise. In the meantime, we’re continuing to work with our partners at CLC to ensure the diverse traditions, pageantry and passion of the more than 100 institutions already signed on to be featured in the game come to life.”
EA Sports College Football Playing it by Ear
As expected, EA Sports isn’t making any changes to its current plans for EA Sports College Football. From the start, the company has been adamant that player licensing won’t be a part of the game. Still, that hasn’t stopped people from wondering how it’s going to work.
Theoretically, players will simply customize rosters to get the players on the proper teams. Which is all well and good if the rosters are offline only. If EA Sports allows users to share custom rosters, we could be looking at slippery slope.
The game is still in an early stage of development, and a lot can happen between now and release. It’s quite possible we see a deal worked out between the NCAA and its participating schools that allow the student athletes to get paid without impacting their “amateur status”. For that to happen, though, the NCAA has to leave its archaic beliefs in the past.