NCAA Football, College Football

College Football Game needs the players, but not as much as they think

The College Football video game is coming back, but not without hiccups. Just how much do player names and likenesses matter?

The return of EA Sports’ College Football video game series has a lot of people excited — but maybe not the most important group.

EA has reportedly offered roughly $500 in compensation per student-athlete at FBS-level schools to include their name, image and likeness in the College Football video game — which is set for a 2024 release. However, leadership of the College Football Players Association isn’t satisfied with that number and is urging a boycott of the game.

“All current players should boycott this deal. It is an opt-in deal, and they should not opt into it. It is just a ridiculously low amount of money,” Justin Falcinelli, vice president of the College Football Players Association, told On3. “Given the context and the hype that surrounds this game. When we first heard the number, we’re like, ‘Alright, that sounds low. Let’s go figure out if it is low.’ And started talking to guys, talked to some of my friends, some guys who are still playing in the NFL. ‘So, what are NFL players getting paid for Madden?’ And the numbers we were given were from 2019, it was disclosed that they got, I think, about $17,000. And then a current NFL player told us that he got a check for $28,000 this year for Madden.

“You should not participate in this. It is a simple cash grab to just try to get you for the lowest amount possible. And it’s OneTeam Partners and all these organizations that don’t really represent the players’ best interest.”

While $500 isn’t a lot compared to $28k or even $17k, but it is much more than the zero compensation players received in the series until it was ultimately shelved after NCAA Football 2014 due to a now-overturned lawsuit. 

College Football, NCAA Football

The boycott would likely benefit the handful of players who already have lucrative NIL Deals more than the run-of-the-mill player on an FBS squad. 

“For 99.9 percent of the players, opting into the deal makes sense,” On3 founder CEO Shannon Terry said of the EA Sports game. “For so long, players were not able to receive a dollar for having their image and likeness used. The $500 can go a long way and is a bonus — because the real value is being in the game for generations. For some athletes like Drake Maye and Caleb Williams, holding out could add up because their value to the game is obviously greater than $500.

“That is up for them to decide what is most important to them.”

The College Football video game is currently set to feature on FBS programs, something that has been common practice in consoles since the PS3 was released. That means that HBCUs would not be baked into the game, but there have been customization options in previous games that have made their inclusion possible. That is possible through customization options, which improved year after year. Every player was editable from his name to his playing style.

As an avid player of the EA Sports NCAA Football franchise for over a decade, I’ll admit I’m anxious for the game to return. I went out and bought a Playstation 5 just in anticipation of this game. I, along with millions of others, are hoping this game returns.

I also want to see the student-athletes be compensated for their work. College football is built on the talents of the young men who get out on the field and put their bodies on the line week-after-week, year-after-year.

However, I’m keenly aware that the game will not be perfect. If it was, HBCUs would be in the games. The most important thing is that the game plays and feels like college football. Just as in real life, there are always more players coming through the pipeline. Today’s superstars, as hot as they are, will be replaced by auto-generated ones in a matter of a few days or weeks depending on how much time you spend playing dynasty mode.  That is possible through customization options, which improved year after year. In previous editions, every player was editable from his name to his playing style. As great as it would be to have real players and likenesses in the game, there are enough sources to achieve this on the backend through roster management.

Hopefully, the student-athletes can get a deal that benefits the masses, EA Sports can make enough money to continue to develop the franchise and millennials like me can get back to one of our favorite past times.

College Football Game needs the players, but not as much as they think
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