First School States Intention of Withdrawing From College Video Games

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Posted August 15th, 2013 at 3:30 pm

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When the NCAA pulled its licensing from college sports video games it became not just a possibility, but a probability, that conferences and individual schools would follow. Yesterday the conferences began to make known they would no longer license themselves out for video games. Now schools are starting to follow. 

The first of what is sure to become many to make a public statement that they will no longer authorize inclusion in video games is the University of Washington. The topic was broached in a chat with athletic director Scott Woodward.

Q: It sounds like the Pac-12 will not license its trademarks with EA Sports. Will UW?
A: We do not plan to. Licensing is done from the main campus, but we will advise them not to.

Ironically late last year the Huskies presented captains with their own personalized NCAA Football covers.

A number of schools have likely already reached this decision or are leaning that way but have not commented publicly. With the cover provided by the NCAA and conferences being lost – remember ongoing lawsuits name the NCAA, CLC, and EA as defendants and do not single out schools – individual institutions become far more at risk of becoming the target of litigation in the future. The surprise here is that the college football series from EA Sports may be cancelled before even a determination is made in the likeness lawsuit which has led to all the defections.

[Update] Existing contracts may keep the SEC and schools like Washington from leaving immediately according to Kotaku.

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  • Mark Britten

    bye bye College Football 15…

    • Keith.

      Good thing Andrew Wilson dumped all that stock when he did!

      LoL — speaking of lawsuits waiting to happen.

      • Mark Britten

        yeah, that’s an insider trading charge waiting to happen.

  • reish

    all gamers of ncaa football and the other games that folded should stop attending these university sporting events since they are such cry babies and then se how much money they lose

    • mbergh22

      Yeah that is plain stupid. EA screwed them.. They have every right to drop out. That is such a pathetic comment.

    • The Great Leon

      You do know not everyone plays the game. Which means the stadium will still be packed because not many care.

  • Weekend Roady

    Really, really unfortunate for gamers. I don’t think their are any innocent people here on any side. EA may be the most innocent of them, they were just pushing out a licensed game and they got the license under fair terms. It was those terms, among other issues, that point directly at how the NCAA does business. I don’t side with the players on this one either, though. Players are getting a sweet deal on the scholarship side of things, getting a shot at a great education without necessarily carrying the same academic merit as everyone else getting into the school for far more important things than football or sports. The reason that one has no choice but to side with the players if you had to pick a side is because the NCAA has directly monetized these athletes into a billion dollar industry for all of us to witness and scrutinize.

    Here’s something to ponder: Does the work-study grad student, parlaying his skills into a major research project for the university, deserves a cut of some donor money too? Why are we looking at just athletes? Anyone can make the argument that a university is benefiting tenfold from every success a particular student has, athlete or not. The argument that the players deserve “more” than any other student just because the NCAA has been making insane money on the whole thing is a bit unjustified. All students should be handled and treated equally and now, after this whole NCAA fiasco, athletes may essentially be treated as superior.

    • Keith.

      “EA may be the most innocent of them”

      Huh?

      Maybe you missed the Amended Complaint that plaintiffs filed in July:

      “EA and CLC allegedly ‘actively lobbied for, and obtained, administrative interpretations of those rules that permitted greater uncompensated exploitation of student-athletes’ names, images, and likenesses. Where their formal efforts were unsuccessful, EA and CLC obtained agreement from the NCAA to permit greater uncompensated exploitation of student-athletes’ names, images, and likenesses notwithstanding the rules.’

      This addresses an argument by EA and CLC that, as business partners of the NCAA, they were simply following the association’s rules pertaining to the use of athletes’ names and likenesses, so the plaintiffs have no right of action against them.

      And there was more on this topic, as the plaintiffs’ lawyers work to make a case that there was a conspiracy among the NCAA, EA and CLC ‘to usurp the student-athletes’ name, image and likeness rights without compensation to the athletes.”

      In August 2007, when licensing of video games was being negotiated, EA allegedly “offered to establish a ‘players’ fund’ for the use of the (student-athletes’) names, images, and likenesses. CLC, negotiating on the NCAA’s behalf, instead suggested that the money should go to the NCAA. EA agreed to pay a kicker to the NCAA in order ‘to align interests and incentivize all parties to help build the category with new rights.’ EA made this offer contingent on ‘no royalties … to a player fund.’ ”

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/2013/07/19/ncaa-ed-obannon-lawsuit-amended-complaint-allegations-ea/2567367/

      • Weekend Roady

        If that’s the case, then I recant EA’s relative “innocence”, but it doesn’t make them worse than the NCAA or the players sides. Really, this is what one would call a cluster___, I wasn’t saying EA is not guilty of anything, heck no. But in the grand scheme of this, you have the NCAA and schools running off with untold millions, EA profiting on the side from the whole fiasco, and the players – who deserve no more than the scholarship they get, like any other student in the school – (rightfully) feeling they have been taken advantage of. In all my years as a sports fan I’ve rarely seen something so ridiculous on every level. It matches the steroids issue in baseball punch-for-punch. Saying amateur athletes should be paid due to the NCAA’s greed from here on out is like saying that we should forgive and forget regarding those who took steroids in baseball because MLB was just looking the other way during that time. Perhaps past players deserve some cut due to likeness issues, I can understand that in essence. But to set the bar that from here on out college players should be paid or compensated extra (which is what I’m afraid where this is going) is ridiculous. This has to purely be a “likeness” issue and not just because sports brings in the most money.

        If not, what could happen is that the players side will fight for everything, not just videogames. They’ll want a cut of jersey, shirt and team related sales as well. How about ticket sales? This could easily get so far out of hand. Heck, in that case, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few years down the road it becomes near impossible to find a licensed t-shirt of your favorite team, let alone a video game.

    • Ryan Schechtman

      “…after this whole NCAA fiasco, athletes may essentially be treated as superior.”

      As someone who was recently a non-athlete college student, this is obviously already the case.

      • Weekend Roady

        I agree completely. This could just make it official and legal. An athlete would legally receive more compensation than a budding physicist… I can understand that theory in the real world, I can’t in the supposed “kosher” academic world, at least by the standards we supposedly set for it.

    • David

      No… I don’t side with the players at all, for all the reasons you mentioned. I was with you until you said that. BUT the colleges ARE bringing in lots of money. That money needs to go to lowering tuition to the rest of the people who don’t play sports.

      • Casor_Greener

        IF they don’t play sports why reap the benefits?

        • Weekend Roady

          Casor – are you saying only the athletes are worthy of any benefits in college? Athletics may bring in the most money for some of these schools, but they wouldn’t exist as a University without being an Academic institution in the first place. Everyone plays a part in the University’s success in some way and every student is an equal subject in the institution. This whole case has skewed that viewpoint A LOT.

          • Casor_Greener

            Is tuition reduced when scholars get awards for their research?

  • Iown You

    One garbage, jittery, console football game left; who will save us?
    This nightmare just seems like it’s never going to end. I played All Pro Football 2K8 today in anger, knowing it still plays the best game of football, yet there is nothing new to look forward to right now.

    Greg Thomas, Jeft Thomas I know you’re out there. I know you read this stuff. I know your team still has a deep passion for Pro Football burning inside your chests, and you’re still the best that ever did it. Guys, we’re dying out here. We need you to come out of retirement for one more season. I know you can hit that 500K mark and then some. It’s too late for 2K15 now, so 2K16 is the target.

    One more season. Come back and embarrass these clowns at Tiburon one more time. 2K16, let’s make it happen.

    • Weekend Roady

      Do I hear a Kickstarter project?

  • Caesar

    This really…really sucks…good bye childhood :-(

  • John

    Really mixed over this, know Ed O’bannon is right but is it worth the cost taking away from so many what they enjoy in these video games.

  • Sergio

    I think I’m done with football games period…Which is crazy because I’m crazy in love with the sport, but I think I’m better off just watching. I really don’t care about basketball either. I think it’s time I get back to the core of gaming anyway. Story driven adventure games and RPG’s. Or I may even just stick with the classics…

    • Weekend Roady

      I second this – I skipped Madden last year and likely will this year other than maybe trying out the next-gen version (not that I have supremely high hopes for it). Sports gaming is generally dying, or settling into a valley for now at least. All I really play anymore is FIFA and maybe a little NBA 2K/NHL. It’s a long cry from the days where we had tons of options to pick from.

      It makes me wonder about some on these forums/blogs that just want to attack, attack, attack. Whether it’s EA directly, or a game they made, etc… I see all those arguments, and it’s not like I don’t understand them – heck, I mostly agree with them. What I don’t understand is that you so rarely see these people genuinely upset, sad, frustrated with the state of sports gaming in particular. They come here and just have another argument why NCAA sucks or why EA sucks. Well, at this rate, pretty soon we’ll have no games to criticize anymore. Maybe it’s time to focus our energies on something like a Kickstarter project (see Iown You’s comment above for an idea) or something to resuscitate life and variety back into the genre.

    • mikemck09

      It is a shame that EA has pushed people to this point. I am in this same boat as well. They have totally destroyed the Sports Gaming Market, they birthed the exclusive license and it was all downhill from there. Honestly wish I could take a trip back to 2005 and enjoy competition in gaming. EA is reaping what they sewed. Greed just gets you to the crapstorm quicker, that is all it does.

      • Iown You

        “EA is reaping what they sewed.”

        And so are we, that’s the sadder part :-(

  • Jesus

    Hmm so does Rex Ryan remind anybody else of a fat Clancy Brown?

  • lonzell99

    Series is done………..I know I won’t buy with missing schools. Oh well, I guess EA can devote more time and resources to Madden 15

  • cdub

    Nobody cares about the University of Washington anyways…so not much of a loss there.

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      Which school is somewhat irrelevant. What is shows is the way of thinking across the nation. It sure sounded definitive, like the Pac-12 institutions all got together and agreed its best they leave. Just a matter of when.

  • BentOver

    why are schools pulling out? Why can’t EA or whomever just make a college game, with licensed teams, and put in generic players on each team? Millions of gamers are going to lose out on having a simulation college game all because EA tried to replicate the real life attributes of teams’ players??? Ending the series because of this is plain dumb.
    Lawsuits wreck everything for the innocent.

    • Weekend Roady

      I don’t pertain to have knowledge of every little detail here, but I think a lot of it is just the perceived risk of association with the product now. Schools would rather opt out than take the risk, however small or large, of continuing on with the product.

      A more successful project may be to go to where the big money ISN’T and take advantage of this void. It may sound crazy, but if someone conceived of an FCS game or avoid the NCAA altogether and do an NAIA game, if it was any decent, people would probably want to play it as an alternative to Madden. Heck, some indie designer could get the NAIA license for pennies on the dollar I’m sure and the NAIA would love the attention at the expense of the NCAA. Imagine that scenario? NAIA Football 16 the only game in town…

      Sounds silly maybe, but this lawsuit has the potential domino effect of turning college football (and college sports in general) on its head. Ten years from now the college sports landscape could look very, very different.

  • Haywood Jablowmy

    Keith, the members of the gaming media are inserting their members in your momma. That is why they failed to uncover this story.

    • Keith.

      Kind’ve gross, considering she passed in 2006.

      Pretty good mom joke, though, as far as those go. I’ll have to remember it if I ever get sent back to 5th grade.

  • eric

    What’s sad is that this game series is what got me into college football. I learned a lot about the college game from playing it. Maybe someday the smoke will clear and it will return, but for now, i’m holding on to my latest copy for awhile.

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