Electronic Arts made the surprising announcement earlier this month that it would finally be reviving its college football video game series. Previously, the franchise hasn’t received a new installment since 2013 with the release of NCAA Football 14. And while EA is planning to now rebrand the series under the name EA Sports College Football, it doesn’t look like all colleges will be looking to take part in the game.
Jack Swarbrick, the athletic director at the University of Notre Dame, confirmed today that the Fighting Irish will not be appearing in EA Sports College Football for the foreseeable future. Swarbrick released a statement saying that the school’s reason for opting out is due to the fact that players still cannot profit off of their own likeness in the game. “Notre Dame Athletics welcomes the return of EA Sports College Football, a video game series that has historically helped promote interest in college football,” Swarbrick said. “Notre Dame will not, however, participate in the game until such time as rules have been finalized governing the participation of our student-athletes. As those rules are developed, it is our strong desire that 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:February 22, 2021
Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly also released a statement of his own on Twitter saying that he believes it's important for the school to support its athletes in this manner. "Much like we have empowered our players when it comes to providing a platform to speak on racial inequalities and social issues that are important to them, we must support them when it comes to NIL and the work that still needs to be done," Kelly said on social media.
While this might not seem like a big deal at face value, the fact that Notre Dame is already taking this stand against EA Sports College Football is quite interesting. College players being unable to profit off of their likeness in video games is one of the contributing factors that led to NCAA Football going away in the first place. For one of the leading college football programs in the country to bow out from appearing in the forthcoming video game carries quite a bit of weight with it.
Even though Notre Dame might be going about things in this manner, though, there’s a decent chance that other schools won’t follow. Notre Dame has the luxury of not belonging to a larger conference meaning that it can make decisions like this on its own. Many other schools around the country, in order to bow out as well, would likely need to do so in tandem with all other schools within its conference. As such, I wouldn’t expect this to be something that happens elsewhere for the time being.
There’s also the chance, however, that Notre Dame’s stance here might not even matter within the coming months or years. The U.S. government is still actively working on a bill that would allow NCAA athletes to accept endorsements or profit on their likeness in the future. If this ends up coming to fruition, Notre Dame will then surely opt back in to appear in EA Sports College Football as doing so will benefit their athletes.1comments
We still have no idea when EA Sports College Football might end up releasing, but it's said to be in the works for next-gen consoles. If we hear more about the project later in the year, we'll be sure to let you know.
What do you think about this whole situation with Notre Dame? Be sure to let me know down in the comments or over on Twitter at @MooreMan12.