Electronic Arts had planned to release its first NCAA Football game in over 10 years this month. Obviously, that is not happening. Yet things are moving in the right direction as EA Sports, OneTeam Partners, and over 120 college teams struck a deal as reported by ESPN. Now, EA is expected to release an NCAA Football game next summer.
The major hang-up came in the form of the NIL rules. A new set of NIL rules started in 2021, allowing NCAA D1, D2, and D3 student athletes to be compensated for their “name, image, and likeness.” These allow NCAA student athletes compensation for their endorsements, which prevented their appearance in NCAA video games.
Now that the players have compensation, the door reopened for EA to continue making the game again. However, fair compensation had to be worked out with a revolving door of around 15,000 student athletes.
About the New NIL Deal With NCAA
With the laws and rules organized, EA could work with OneTeam Partners as an intermediary third party to broker NIL deals with schools. While unconfirmed, EA is reportedly working on a $5 million pool to be split among approximately 10,000 eligible student athletes.
That works out to about $500 per student athlete. It probably cannot cover the cost of one class, but it can pay them for their image and likeness.
Compensation changes for cover athletes remains unclear, however. Also, we don’t know how EA and OneTeam would respond if a player like Arch Manning or Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry held out for more.
Conversely, players that do not want to appear in the game can opt out. Those that do will be replaced with a generic character model.
The good news is, it seems like OneTeam did remove the roadblocks that stood in EA’s way. As such, we appear to be on track for a new game in 2024. It will be interesting to see how the game comes together over the next year.