Usually when you’re right about something that everyone else says you’re wrong about, you like to rub it in their faces and gloat while you emphatically state, “I told you so,” over and over again.
With that being said, when the NCAA announced in July that they would be cutting ties with Electronic Arts (EA), I stated that the NCAA Football series is done within a couple of years (I was right earlier than expected). Many others said, “you’re crazy, they still have the conferences and schools backing the game. Your comment is irrelevant, fail.” Don’t you just love social media?
This was somewhat true but not many of them understood what was going on behind the scenes with the overwhelming amount of lawsuits filed against the NCAA and EA. They didn’t know how deep the rabbit hole went. These individuals/gamers didn’t get the business side of the video game and/or sports industry. Licensing and Likeness – someone has to get paid.
One month later, the SEC, PAC-12, and Big Ten announced they too would not resign with EA. Still folks were optimistic because the schools were still backing the game. Then, what do you know – more of what I was talking about happened. The conferences backed out because they were afraid to get hit with lawsuits. You could still have a video game though – all you have to do is change the title to EA College Football 15 and take out the NCAA logo and conference logos for the SEC, PAC-12 and Big Ten and we’re golden right? Wrong.
When you have the NCAA and its three biggest and most lucrative conferences back out of a deal, you know something’s going on regarding the bigger picture with current lawsuits. ESPN College Gameday definitely wasn’t coming back. Sponsors? See you later. There’s no reason to stay since the whole authentic feel is gone. With all of that being said, for the first time in my life I wish I was wrong. EA Sports has dropped the NCAA Football series from its yearly lineup.
EA states that this is only a temporary move but many doubt the franchise will come back at full force. Though EA does have 150 schools and numerous amounts of Bowl Games licensed for the next three years it’s unlikely anything will be done with the franchise for awhile. The move has been made in large part to the pending lawsuits between the NCAA, EA, former NCAA players, and current NCAA players. EA has settled three large claims against them already, including with Ed O’Bannon. Now that everyone knows EA will deal, they might have opened Pandora’s Box, not to mention leave the NCAA high and dry against Ed O’Bannon and his boys.
If you don’t know who Ed O’Bannon is, he is a former UCLA basketball player that is helping lead the charge in these lawsuits against the NCAA and EA. O’Bannon wants royalties from the EA games for player likeness and a percentage of the TV contracts for all past and present NCAA athletes. Got it? Good, we’re all caught up. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NCAPA (National Collegiate Athletic Players Association) was created if the NCAA loses these lawsuits.
EA has agreed to pay 40 million dollars to 125,000 men that are eligible for compensation regarding the player likeness lawsuit against EA. So if we do the math, that’s $320? That can’t be right. Nope, I just checked again, it’s right -. $320 per eligible person. So that’s the price of losing a video game that student athletes should be honored and flattered to be apart of? $320. Now I know what most of you pro “pay the player: guys are going to say, “it’s the principle, not the money.” That’s a bunch of malarkey and you know it. Many say it’s a victory for the student athletes but, in my opinion, EA was the winner. EA got off light. I wonder how much the leaders of this crusade got in compensation. You think they got $320 too? Maybe.
Not all is lost for EA though. If EA wants to make a genuine and authentic college football game ever again, they’re just going to have to pay for it. Which is kind of hard to pull off when you have a game that makes far less money than FIFA and Madden. Paying for conference, team, and player licenses? Not to mention ESPN and the Gameday crew. That would put this franchise in the hole every year. It’s not worth it financially. So unfortunately the NCAA Football series will die off.
As a gamer I find this news very upsetting. After I made my initial comments (shown at the beginning of article) on a Google+ post regarding the future of the franchise, I wanted to delete it immediately. Not because of the backlash from oversensitive individuals on the internet but because I was hoping if it wasn’t written down then maybe it won’t come true. Realistically it was going to happen whether I wrote it or not. And to only think it was all over $320.
Rest in peace NCAA Football. We had a good run. Please click the video down below as we take a moment to remember NCAA Football from it’s rise to glory and to it’s tragic end.
In loving memory: EA Sports NCAA Football Series
Video commentary brought to you by Scott Swingle and TheSwingleNetwork