Those looking to get their yearly college football fix will have to look elsewhere next year, as Electronic Arts have announced that they will not be developing a new NCAA Football title. This news comes on the heels of EA announcing that they have reached a settlement with the group of current and former student athletes who were suing the company over being uncompensated for their likenesses being used.
The class action lawsuit was filed against both the NCAA and EA by former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller and former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon. Originally it was thought that the video game giant may be on the hook for close to $1 billion. Yes, that is billion with a B. EA, realizing that a billion dollars is just a wee bit of money, instead decided to settle with the plaintiffs. Now, the company will only owe the undisclosed amount of “tens of millions of dollars,” which at the very least, is better than a billion.
Even with the case being settled though, EA decided that maybe developing a new entry in the NCAA series might not be in their best interest. For now, the company has only announced that they will skip next year and that they are “evaluating our plan for the future of the franchise.” This is not the first time the company has declined publishing a college sports title either, as the company previously dropped their NCAA Basketball series back in 2009.
If you have watched any type of sports channel in the past year (yes, even NBC Sports), you have probably seen the numerous stories about the NCAA punishing programs and students that accepted illegal benefits. Whether it’s Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel or the entire Ohio State football program, the NCAA will investigate the issue and dole out punishment as they see fit. Since I am of the opinion that these student athletes should be able to profit off their playing, I’m happy to see that EA decided not to drag this lawsuit out and settle. Of course, this doesn’t change the fact that the company made billions off the NCAA series and are only paying millions, but it’s something I guess.
It will also be weird not seeing a new NCAA Football game out on store shelves in the middle of the summer. The series has been a staple of the typically slow summer release slate for a couple years now. I even prefer it to the Madden franchise, even though I realize I may be in the minority on that one. Regardless, the popular college football series has been benched for the foreseeable future.