Earlier this week, Brandon Farcello and 247Sports released details on the long-awaited return of EA Sports College Football. The famed video game franchise hasn’t released a new edition since NCAA Football 14 almost a decade ago. Several months after the July release of that game, the Redwood City, California publisher announced that they would not be publishing a new college football game for the foreseeable future. General Manager of American Football for EA Sports Cam Weber issued a statement saying,
“We have been stuck in the middle of a dispute between the NCAA and student-athletes who seek compensation for playing college football. Just like companies that broadcast college games and those that provide equipment and apparel, we follow rules that are set by the NCAA – but those rules are being challenged by some student-athletes. For our part, we are working to settle the lawsuits with the student-athletes. Meanwhile, the NCAA and a number of conferences have withdrawn their support of our game.”
And that was that. A franchise that started with Bill Walsh College Football in the winter of ’93/’94 was gone.
Bill Walsh College Football – Nintendo SNES
Developer:Visual Concepts Entertainment
Also on: Sega Genesis, Sega Nomad pic.twitter.com/Gd0MUFECIz
— Gamers Universe (@Honzinac_) March 18, 2019
But many may forget that a former Nebraska quarterback filed one of the lawsuits that eventually led to the end of the partnership between EA Sports and the NCAA.
Former Nebraska and Arizona State Quarterback Sam Keller was one of several former collegiate players who sued EA Sports in the spring of 2009 to collect monetary damages for his likeness being used without his approval.
Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Sam Keller (9) (Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports)
Those lawsuits eventually led to a $40 million settlement by EA Sports and a $20 million settlement by the NCAA. Unfortunately, the settlements also made it impossible to move forward with future installments of the game due to the legal requirements that forced EA Sports to compensate players for their likeness. However, NCAA rules at the time made that compensation illegal, and as a result the two sides were at an impass, and their professional relationship dissolved as a result.
Since those settlements, EA Sports and its partners hadn’t spoken a word about the game until February 2nd, 2021.
For those who never stopped believing… #EASPORTSCollegeFootball pic.twitter.com/ojDl9LzXuj
— EASPORTSCollege (@EASPORTSCollege) February 2, 2021
In their press release announcing the return of college football to the video game industry, EA Sports announced a partnership with CLS, the nation’s leading collegiate trademark licensing company.
“The new franchise will deliver authentic college football experiences and the high-quality gameplay that fans have long loved in college football games from EA SPORTS. Through the CLC partnership, the franchise will include the rights to more than 100 institutions featuring the logos, stadiums, uniforms, gameday traditions and more that fans have come to know and love. While this college game will not include student-athlete names, images and likenesses, EA SPORTS is continuing to watch those developments closely.”
Most appearances for the NCAA Video Game Cover by school: Michigan (3), USC (3), Florida (2), Texas (2)
A Thread on all the covers. At the end tell me your favorite cover.(1/19)
The Orginal CFB Game💽
College Football USA 97: Nebraska QB Tommie Frazier pic.twitter.com/WfSG8EiVhc
— CFB Home (@CFBHome) July 31, 2022
The short answer to that question is no. Multiple marquee programs are not currently participating in the newest series development. The most prominent program of the group is Notre Dame whose athletic director Jack Swarbrick announced in February of 2021 that the Irish would not be a part of the game’s development until,
“…student-athletes be allowed to benefit directly from allowing their name, image and performance history to be used in the game.”
Statement from University VP and AD Jack Swarbrick on EA Sports College Football video game series and continued support of our student-athletes and NIL:
➡️ https://t.co/Ta2wxDNNtI#GoIrish pic.twitter.com/WZZj0sJ4Hk
— The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) February 22, 2021
No, as of last count not every team in the Big Ten has come to an agreement with EA. In fact, it was the Northwestern Wildcats that followed Notre Dame’s lead and announced that they too would not participate in the franchise until NIL issues were handled properly that according to the Chicago Sun-Times Steve Greenberg.
Some news: Like Notre Dame, Northwestern will not be participating in the next version of EA Sports College Football until rules are created and finalized that allow players to benefit financially from use of their names, images, performance histories, etc. (1/4)
— Steve Greenberg (@SLGreenberg) February 24, 2021
According to The Athletic, Wisconsin is the other Big Ten school that is choosing to sit out for the time being. An entire list of teams opting out can be found in the attached link to The Athletic.
NCAA Football 2000 🎮 (1999) pic.twitter.com/ydNICiC4Pn
— College Football Classics (@ClassicsCFB) August 15, 2022
According to Marcello’s report, the game will be built using the current Madden game engine. He writes,
“The team at EA Sports is taking great care in making sure the presentation is uniquely collegiate, which is why the team has spent so much time designing stadiums and implementing assets to differentiate game-day atmospheres from school to school. What separated the NCAA Football and Madden franchises was the almost-romantic focus on the pageantry of college football traditions, and that will continue in the College Football franchise.”
Previous versions of the NCAA Football franchise have always used players who entered the last year’s NFL Draft as that year’s cover model because current college athletes could not be used for cover art. However, with new regulations, that may change…
“Never has EA been allowed to sign a current player due to NCAA rules, but with NIL now legal, the expectation is the company will sign one current player to appear on the cover, sources told 247Sports. That player will be compensated separately from whatever they earn via group licensing for appearing in the game.”
Trivia question: Which Husker was on the cover of the last college football game made by a company other than EA Sports?
Eric Crouch of the Nebraska Cornhuskers was on the cover of NCAA College Football 2K3, the last NCAA CFB game made by a company other than EA Sports. pic.twitter.com/h3FfrkpXBC
— Gershon Rabinowitz (@GershOnline) September 26, 2021
Not much is known now about all the different game modes that will be available upon release, but two have been confirmed so far. Marcello writes…
“EA Sports has kept much of its game modes under wraps but the developer will continue “Dynasty” and “Road to Glory” modes.”
I’m not going to lie to you, but I’ve lost hours, days, weeks, heck, even years of my life playing Dynasty mode but the game mode I would be more excited to see return than any would be the ability to play 1v1 matchups online. Nothing made me happier than running an option offense with a conservative clock option and using the entire first quarter for my opening possession. You could feel the player being driven to the point of frustration only to watch them forfeit moments later.
I also hope for the all-time rosters and historical college football teams. It would be fun to play as the ’83, ’95, or even the ’97 Cornhuskers against some of the other great teams over the sport’s history.
#Nebraska #Huskers voted as #UltimateTeam of past 25 yrs for ESPN & EA Sports. 25 days til opening game. GO BIG RED!! pic.twitter.com/FJJM2xRssq
— Lamont Epp (@lrepp33) August 7, 2013
Older versions of NCAA Football had only a smattering of throwback or alternate uniforms, but this new iteration of the game is expected to have an extensive library.
“EA Sports made an effort to include unique helmet stickers for teams in the game and is building a library of throwback uniforms, “which are huge hits with fans,” according to emails between EA Sports and school administrators.”
Taking a look at the last 50 years of Nebraska Football uniforms https://t.co/7P3a4kIL7D
— Cornhuskers Wire (@CornhuskersWire) August 8, 2022
According to 247Sports, coaches haven’t been approached yet for their likenesses rights, but it’s believed that those conversations occur until EA Sports is ready to start signing players, but they may not sign every scholarship player on a team’s roster.
“EA Sports is also prepared to not include every scholarship player on the 85-man roster for teams. In fact, it might be impossible to secure every scholarship player’s NIL rights before the game’s street date, and coupled with the monstrous task of building a true-to-life roster is also not logical.”
Throwback to the original Bill Walsh College Football (1993) on Genesis that had no team licensing so squads that didn’t share the same name as a state or town (“Clemson, SC”) were named after their hometown… like Provo, Raleigh, or College Station… pic.twitter.com/V9UkAkyfBU
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) August 8, 2019
While appearing on the Omaha World-Herald’s “Cariker Chronicles,” Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Albers talked about how vital a video game like the EA Sports college football series can be to the sport.
“I think it’s vital. I mean what young person… my son was so mad when that game went away. But I think what it does is it helps grow our sport. It grows the fanbase. It keeps people engaged… It’s a way to distribute your brand and it allows our players to benefit from their Name Image and Likeness.”
Comments start at 13:30
A report from Sports Illustrated from June ’22 stated that EA Sports is gaming to release their new college football game by July ’23
EA Sports College Football 24 is expected to be on next-gen consoles but not on previous gen (PS4 and XBox One), sources told @247Sports.
— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) August 15, 2022
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