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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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EA Sports: We’re ‘in the game’

The Green Wave will be featured in EA Sports College Football 25 (Nathan Rich)

NCAA Football 14, the final installment in the EA Sports video game series, was released on July 9, 2013. Eight years later, the NCAA reformed its seemingly immovable stance on collegiate athletes’ ability to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness, giving rise to the highly anticipated revival of EA Sports College Football 25, 11 years after its last release.

But why was the wildly popular game first discontinued?

With no NIL deal in place prior to 2021, EA Sports was neither allowed to profit from NCAA athletes’ name, image and likeness, nor compensate athletes for these rights. As a result, previous editions of the game included avatars that represented athletes with their numbers, skill sets and general appearances but excluded any direct references to them, including their names. Athletes were not compensated.

Former University of California, Los Angeles star basketball player Ed O’Bannon took serious issue with this workaround and named EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company as co-defendants in a 2015 lawsuit, arguing that the NCAA was wrongfully using athletes’ images commercially. The parties reached a settlement, and EA Sports agreed to continue compensating athletes for their inclusion. The NCAA halted the agreement, stating that athletes may not profit in any way from their NIL.

EA Sports made subsequent attempts to reintroduce EA Sports College Football, but without just compensation, schools including Tulane University backed their players by opting out of potential iterations of the game. “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 can receive compensation for the use of their name, image, or likeness,” former Athletic Director Troy Dannen said

On June 30, 2021, the NCAA released the following statement: “NCAA college athletes will have the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness beginning Thursday.” Soon after, the game was rumored to make a comeback. 

While details for the new game have been released sparingly since the game’s mid-2024 return was formalized, EA Sports released its first official trailer on Feb. 22. Last week, the new game announced it will feature all 134 Football Bowl Subdivision schools. Tulane immediately took to Instagram to share its exciting announcement with the caption, “We’re in the game!”

Although Tulane is guaranteed to be present in the newest game, players can choose to opt-in or out of being included in the game. While there is a certain novelty to being in a video game, each player must weigh the pros and cons of the decision on a personal level. EA will offer players $600 and a free copy of the game — valued at least $60 — if they choose to opt-in.

Having overcome a plethora of logistical challenges, the NCAA and EA Sports are now offering a unified product that will appease the game’s incredibly vast fanbase. A full reveal of the game is expected this May, and according to reports, the game should be available for purchase beginning on July 12, 2024.

While the Green Wave and new coach Jon Sumrall will not take the field until its 2024 season debut on Aug. 31, Tulane fans can finally look forward to the imminent return of college football in Yulman Stadium.

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