Potential release date for EA Sports College Football video game revealed

Everyone was thrilled upon the announcement of EA Sports’ new edition of a college football video game coming in the near future. The company last released a game back in 2013.

However, it was unknown when the game would exactly return. In addition, the name, likeness and image rule expected to come to fruition in the NCAA has yet to be fully approved, but the expectation is that athletes will eventually be able to profit off their own names.

According to Matt Brown, publisher of Extra Points, the game has a new rough release date.

“NEWS: According to internal documentation from CLC that I obtained via Open Records request, the CLC told FBS institutions that EA Sports intends to release the new video game in “July of 2023,” Brown tweeted.

Following the lead of Notre Dame and Northwestern, a third FBS program pulled out of EA Sports’ upcoming return of the popular-selling NCAA Football video game. Tulane announced it would not participate in the new installment of the franchise, citing the lack of compensation for its student-athletes.

“While I join many in looking forward to the return of the EA Sports College Football video game, Tulane University will not be part of the game until our student-athletes are able to receive compensation for the use of their name, image or likeness,” the university wrote in its official statement. “We will continue to work to provide student-athletes with greater NIL rights while also enhancing their overall educational experience.”

Since players aren’t benefiting yet from the virtual sensation, Notre Dame isn’t participating either. University Vice President and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick put out a strong statement this week, his university becoming the first to make the bold proclamation. Northwestern soon followed.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly shared the following on Twitter: “We are here to support our student-athletes. Much like we have empowered our players when it comes to providing a platform to speak on racial inequalities & social issues that are important to them, we must support them when it comes to NIL & the work that still needs to be done.”

According to Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun Times, Northwestern wants NIL rules to be created and finalized for players to benefit before participating.

According to his report, Northwestern actually made the decision last month based on the impending return of the game.

“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.,” Greenberg tweeted. “Notre Dame was the first school to publicly announce its decision to hold off on joining the 100-plus schools already signed on to participate. Northwestern made its decision last month, according to an athletic department spokesman….

“Illinois, like the vast majority of FBS schools, signed its commitment with Collegiate Licensing Company. According to a spokesman, Illinois is under the impression that, if new NIL rules are passed, EA intends to change its plan to include players with compensation….’Our approval allows Illinois to be included in the development process,” the spokesman said, “and we would be supportive of any changes EA may incorporate should NIL pass.’”

Fans were calling for the return of the game for years now and it appears that they will get their wish. To this day, fans still go in and update rosters on NCAA 14 that other players can download online.

Lawsuits over athlete likeness, including the landmark proceedings of Ed O’Bannon, ended the game’s circulation with the 2014 version, leading to widespread disappointment from gamers and sports fans across the country. The courts ruled EA Sports used athlete likeness without permission or compensation and the video game company eventually paid out $60 million in settlements to athletes who appeared in its games between 2003-14, according to CBS Sports.

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Back in April of 2020, the NCAA’s Board of Governors supported altered rule changes to allow student-athletes to “receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics.” At the time, it was unclear whether those changes would allow for the return of NCAA Football to video game consoles.