Video game maker EA Sports announces the return of NCAA football –

Alabama wide receiver Xavier Williams celebrates after a catch during the second half of an NCAA College Football Playoff National Championship game against Ohio State on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. AP Photo / Chris O’Meara)

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Video game maker EA Sports said on Tuesday it was bringing back its college football series, which was suspended eight years ago after the NCAA was sued for failing to share gaming revenue with college athletes.

While there is still a long way to go as to whether and how college gamers will be allowed to profit from the use of their names, images and likenesses in-game, Electronic Arts has already taken steps to revive the popular franchise.

There is no schedule in place for the next college football game outing, the company said. But EA said it has entered into an agreement with College Licensing Company, which allows the game creator to use the school’s trademarks and logos.

“We have heard millions of passionate fans calling for the return of college football video games,” Cam Weber, executive vice president and general manager of EA Sports, said in a statement. “We love the energy, tradition and pageantry of college football and I’m delighted to say we’re back in development.”

The game was a big hit among players from 2005 to 2013, but it was discontinued amid the fallout of a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA by former UCLA basketball player Ed O ‘Bannon.

The NCAA Football video game did not identify players by name, but the game simulated teams and players as they played in real life.

The video game was part of a broad legal challenge, and a judge ruled that the NCAA improperly used the names, images and likenesses of college athletes. The NCAA, through its licensing partner, withdrew from the game during the trial. The game ceased to be made and fans have been waiting for it ever since.

The NCAA is trying to change its rules to allow athletes to make money from their names, pictures and likenesses, but there are obstacles and complications to getting there – including a case that will be heard by the United States Supreme Court later this year.

Last month, the NCAA put on hold its plans to pass a law allowing third-party NIL payments to athletes, with certain limitations, due to Department of Justice scrutiny. Several bills have been introduced in Congress that deal with college athletes and NIL rights, as well as the ability of the NCAA to oversee the issue. Additionally, many states have acted on their own NIL bills, with some expected to come into effect later this year.

Perhaps more importantly, the Supreme Court will hear a case involving the NCAA and antitrust laws in the spring that could lead to sweeping changes or protect the status quo.

Earlier this week, the NCAA filed a brief with the High Court. The association is challenging a lower court ruling in another case that NCAA rules did not comply with antitrust laws.

“The NCAA and its member schools are committed to standing up for the rules that govern college sports – the same rules that create an environment where hundreds of thousands of student-athletes can enjoy the lifelong benefits of a college education and compete. at the highest level. of their sport. We look forward to continuing to make our case in court, “said Donald Remy, NCAA Legal Director.


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