EA Sports Loses the Battle to NCAA Lawsuit, Former College Athletes Win Settlement, What's Next?

Today, EA Sports announced in a press release the making of NCAA football games after its latest iteration has come to a halt.

"Given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA.”

The NCAA has been involved in a number of ongoing lawsuits brought forth by former student athletes for profiting off of their likenesses without proper compensation. It is the last part of the previous sentence, “without proper compensation,” that turns this into yet another conversation about why student athletes aren’t being paid.

In a moment of selfishness, I’ll say this. I enjoyed the NCAA series for over a decade. I bought the game every year from 2003 up until 2012, with most of those years preferring to play it over it’s NFL big brother, Madden. As a diehard college football fan, there isn’t anything quite like taking control of your digital team and molding the program the way one sees fit. Especially if your school isn’t good, always loses a game they shouldn’t lose, or happen to be consistent underachievers. There’s been plenty of times I’ve suffered a “real world” loss at the hands of a college team and decided to drop 65 points and 700 offensive yards on NCAA as a way to cope. In short, though I didn’t buy NCAA 14, the series will be missed.

Focusing more on the players and not myself, this is pretty much what I expected. The conversation about paying college football players has been discussed ad nauseum. I’m tired of it. If the NCAA, college coaches, pundits, athletic directors, and everybody in between doesn’t want to play these players, this could ALL be resolved by allowing the players to make money on their own. No more penalties. No more suspensions. Stop hanging the proverbial hammer of the NCAA over the heads of athletes and let these kids use their talent to acquire them some cash. All of these super smart people are sitting in a room and pretending there isn’t an answer they can come up with to solve this dilemma. The greed of all the parties involved is starting to rear it’s ugly head and if they don’t clean this up, EA Sports won’t be the last to feel the ill effects of it all.

It’ll just be the first.

*****

UPDATE: The Players Are Gonna Get Paid...Sorta!: Per The Verge - It turns out EA wasn't lying when it said it was working to settle its lawsuits about athlete likenesses — the company has just announced that, along with the Collegiate Licensing Company, it has reached a settlement with former college athletes.

Per the settlement document:

[The antitrust plaintiffs, right-of-publicity plaintiffs, EA and the CLC] hereby notify the Court that they have reached a settlement of all claims asserted by all Plaintiffs in this matter against EA and CLC. This settlement does not affect Plaintiffs' claims against Defendant National Collegiate Athletic Association.

What's now clear is that the NCAA now stands alone in the legal battle with student-athletes. In the future, this battle between these two entities will affectionately be known as World War 3.

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