The wait is nearly over.
EA Sports announced Tuesday morning that its college football series will be making a much-anticipated return. The news, received warmly and widely by fans all across the board, was announced via a series of tweets from EA and through an article by ESPN.
Detailed in the article from ESPN are the most important notes. Those of which include the fact that the game is not currently scheduled to be released this year. Additionally, EA is working through CLC to gain licensing, and “over 100 teams” are on board already. Furthermore, the NIL legislation appears to be a big factor:
To make the game happen, EA Sports partnered with collegiate licensing company CLC to make sure it had the FBS schools, traditions, uniforms and playbooks — among other things — ready to go for the game. Over 100 teams will be in the game.
For now, EA Sports is planning to move forward without rosters that include the names, images or likenesses of real college players. Current NCAA rules prohibit athletes from selling their NIL rights while in college.
However, those rules are likely to be changed at some point in the coming year — by the NCAA, state legislatures or Congress. It’s not yet clear whether the evolving rules will allow for the kind of group licensing arrangements that would be needed for EA Sports to negotiate with athletes to use their names in the game.
There are obviously a lot of factors at work here, but we do seem poised to get this game within the next few years. Additionally, there does seem to be a pathway here for the players to receive compensation for their likeness being used in the game, which would also be an added benefit assuming the legislation passes. While anything can happen, an optimistic view would suggest that the legislation does seem to be given the gateway to be passed and for all of that to work.
Time will soon tell to see how this plays out. That being said, this is a huge win for fans of the game who’ve been waiting for nearly a decade for a new title to be launched. Whenever it comes, it should be expected that the game is going to be a huge, hot seller. What comes next will be important, but for now, this is a big day to say the least.