Category Archives: NCAA Football

NCAA Ordered to Talk Settlement in O’Bannon Case; Eventual Resolution Will Determine Future of College Sports Video Games

Last week the judge in the Ed O’Bannon class-action case vs the NCAA ordered the two sides to enter settlement talks. Naturally questions have started to come in about whether this could accelerate a return of college football (and other sports) video games.

There is no longer a video game element to the case – although Sam Keller has continued to argue that he was not a part of the earlier settlement that got Electronic Arts and Collegiate Licensing Company out of it. A conclusion to litigation that would provide an outline for players to be paid (whether from share of broadcasting rights, personal endorsements, and/or merchandising) could open the possibility of video games back up. 

It’s very unlikely that a settlement will be reached which would mean the case proceeding through the lengthy process that with appeals could be five years away from a conclusion. There is no requirement that the sides attempt to reach one in good faith – just that they attend the required mediation. Even if a the two sides came to a settlement the specific terms would be critical.

EA could manage paying collegiate athletes $50-$100 a season. That’s essentially what they did with the $40 million settlement. With NCAA Football establishing a successful Ultimate Team mode they could afford additional costs especially when being able to promote real players officially in the game would likely increase sales of the product. Going much higher than that though, or having a system where players negotiate their own appearance fees, could make it more difficult to financially justify.

Earlier/Summary Below

The player likeness lawsuit against the NCAA, CLC, and Electronic Arts is the culmination of two high profile filings that were combined as led by Sam Keller and Ed O’Bannon (and O’Bannon now heads it up). It alleges improper use of player likeness through various forms of merchandise and media including video games in which the parties in question conspired to avoid paying players for their rights. Some interesting details and claims regarding the case at hand were revealed when EA was reentered as a defendant after initially being dismissed.

EA originally won a previous case regarding player likeness with the courts ruling video games are artistic works rather than commercial speech and therefore protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court in 2011 established forms of media, producing expressive works of art, are not subject to judgments based on incorporating someone’s name or likeness. That dismissed case however, involving Ryan Hart, has resurfaced after an appeals court reversed a decision based on that argument.

Recent uncovered emails have shown that NCAA representatives were well aware that players in games were based off real-life players. At one point the NCAA and EA had nearly reached an agreement to have actual player names included in the products. The EA Locker / Roster Share feature was a fallback option. With momentum clearly on the plantiffs’ side NCAA reps have begun to publicly express concern over the future of collegiate sports. A former EA Sports producer admitted players in NCAA games were based off real athletes.

The discovery of Tim Tebow’s name being in NCAA Football 10 could throw another wrench into EA’s series of arguments. Depositions from former Alabama wide receiver Tyrone Prothro and UConn basketball guard Tate George support the defendant’s reasoning for denying class action certification. The class action hearing resulted in the judge heavily questioning the legitimacy of a potential class and insisting a current athlete be involved. The judge required current athletes be added as plaintiffs for that party to have representation if the case is certified as class action. Six current college football players were added as plaintiffs in mid-July.

EA is now arguing to be dismissed as a defendant in the suit. A major defense for the company however was recently struck down by an appeals court.

This consolidated case in California if certified as class action would go to trial – barring a settlement – and ultimately be the determining factor of how the NCAA proceeds in the future handling broadcasting rights, merchandising, and video games. Should a negative result come down, which one analyst has pegged as being a potential loss of $1 billion for EA, it would likely not just end the NCAA Football series but also with it any realistic possibility of college sports games being made in the future. The trial now is slated to begin June 9, 2014. Appeals following a decision could extend the fight through 2020.

[RESOLUTION] EA and the CLC have settled the lawsuit. EA Sports will no longer produce a college football game. Getting out of the lawsuit only cost EA and CLC $40 million.

EA Sports Cancels NCAA Football Series

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EA Sports has officially canceled their NCAA Football series which was going to be renamed College Football next year. The news comes on the heels of individual institutions expressing a desire to get out of the video game business by pulling their licenses. The NCAA was first to withdraw licensing, multiple conferences followed, but losing the schools was when EA began to see the writing on the wall that the series would not be sustainable. Also announced today is that EA settled in the player likeness lawsuit as well.

Details on First Patch for NCAA Football 14

EA Sports today had the first post-release patch for NCAA Football 14 go live on the Xbox 360 and PS3. The list of fixes provided by the company is not expansive – there was more done than just what is mentioned here – but these are the primary issues addressed. 

Formation Subs Exploit
Fixed an exploit that allowed users to disconnect an online H2H game without receiving a loss or affecting DNF %

Coaching Carousel Update
Fixed an issue that prevented non-commissioner user teams from being offered new jobs in Online Dynasty

Defensive Back Hot Route Adjustment
Fixed an issue where some Defensive Back Hot Routes would not react correctly

Old Dominion Update
Fixed an issue where Old Dominion is referred to as “Big Blue” and not “Monarchs”

Vignette Slowdown
Addressed an issue where postplay vignettes did not trigger after touchdowns.

Grey Facemask Issue (PS3)
Fixed an issue where some teams had a grey facemask in-game regardless of user modifications on the PlayStation 3

PS3 Optimization
PS3 players will notice a much quicker overall experience with reduced hitches.

NCAA FOOTBALL ULTIMATE TEAM UPDATES
♦Fixed issue where Team Skill OVR ratings appeared to be 99, but were actually only a 94
♦Players may see their OVR Team Skill Ratings adjusted after applying the title update
♦Please note that individual player OVR ratings have not changed at all.

Onto The Semifinals In The Madden NFL 25 Cover Vote Competition

The cover campaign featuring both legends and current stars for Madden NFL 25 has reached the semifinals in the two brackets. The “Old School” and “New School” participants are now in the Final Four stage with the eventual winners from each side facing off for the cover honors.

Another round has passed without any big surprises and the result is some epic pairings to vote on. Colin Kaepernick is gone in what some might consider an upset due to his #1 seeding but he never had near the support of other high seeds – it was evident after the first round that he wouldn’t be a contender. The match-ups are Joe Montana vs Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice vs Deion Sanders, Arian Foster vs Russell Wilson, and Robert Griffin III vs Adrian Peterson.

Voting is completed through the ESPN SportsNation Page. The fourth round runs until April 10th when it will move forward to the finals for each bracket.

NCAA Player Likeness Lawsuit vs EA Sports *UPDATE*

The player likeness lawsuit against the NCAA, CLC, and Electronic Arts is the culmination of two high profile filings that were combined as led by Sam Keller and Ed O’Bannon (and O’Bannon now heads it up). It alleges improper use of player likeness through various forms of merchandise and media including video games in which the parties in question conspired to avoid paying players for their rights. Some interesting details and claims regarding the case at hand were revealed when EA was reentered as a defendant after initially being dismissed.

EA has won a previous case regarding player likeness with the courts ruling video games are artistic works rather than commercial speech and therefore protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court in 2011 established forms of media, producing expressive works of art, are not subject to judgments based on incorporating someone’s name or likeness.

Recent uncovered emails have shown that NCAA representatives were well aware that players in games were based off real-life players. At one point the NCAA and EA had nearly reached an agreement to have actual player names included in the products. The EA Locker / Roster Share feature was a fallback option. With momentum clearly on the plantiffs’ side NCAA reps have begun to publicly express concern over the future of collegiate sports. Continue reading NCAA Player Likeness Lawsuit vs EA Sports *UPDATE*

NCAA Football 14 Cover Vote Field Narrowed Down to Eight Schools

EA Sports today announced the schools that have advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Football 14 cover tournament and have opened up the voting. Once again it is being handled through Facebook with a main poll which will be followed by secondary ones.

Alabama led the way in the round of 16 followed closely behind by Texas A&M and Michigan. Those three had the benefit of being listed first in the poll options on Facebook which provided a huge advantage as users had to click through to another page to see the other programs. The trio totaled 88K votes which was more than the remaining 13 schools combined with 78K. That represents yet another gaffe in what has been a poorly staged cover vote process from the start. 6 of the 8 options from the primary poll are displayed on the main FB page with Oregon and Texas A&M now seemingly at a disadvantage.

Penn State slipped out after looking as though they would likely advance. That leaves Notre Dame as the only program that EA would certainly like to avoid now given the Manti Te’o story. If they had planned for him to be a cover option that at least will have been scrapped now. Within the next 10 days the company will be announcing the potential cover athletes for the programs leading into a voting stage to choose the eventual candidate for each that will end on February 18.

Four Schools Breaking Away Early in Vote for NCAA Football 14 Cover Representation

Though there is ample time to go in the voting round of eight programs for the NCAA Football 14 cover here is an update on the current standings. Michigan is leading the way with 22,044 votes and Alabama is close behind having totaled 20,343. Texas A&M is sitting comfortably at 12,623 while Oregon remains somewhat vulnerable with 8,111 votes. As things stand right now they would all be moving on to the final four.

Florida State at 7,149 is in range to make a run at the final spot while Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Georgia look as though they won’t be going any further. If additional polls are posted though – depending on how they’re structured in particular – that could change their outlook.

Unfortunately EA has not actually defined when this round of voting will actually end. Potential cover athletes for each school are expected to be announced by February 3 with the advancing schools and their athlete moving on come February 18.

Just taking a guess here since it has not at all been made clear but the voting on athletes may represent the secondary poll/s for this round. That could shift the results dramatically depending on which programs have the most appealing individuals attached (more likely for non-fans to vote for players now than schools) and eliminate the fatigue of voting for the same school over and over by now as some have surely tuned out of the process.

Could the silhouettes in the above image (larger version) provide hints at the soon-to-be-revealed candidates? That Michigan has a QB could be a sign of that given Denard Robinson would likely be their representative. The others are more difficult to define however. Alabama could be a running back which would make sense with Eddie Lacy, Georgia could be Jarvis Jones (in fact it may be based on this picture or one similar), Notre Dame might be Tyler Eifert (note the hair out the back of the helmet). What do you think for the others?

NCAA 13 Community Blog – Road To Glory

Greetings, NCAA Football fans. My name is Chris Jacobs and I am a member of the EA SPORTS Game Changers program and you can find me at The Gaming Tailgate, an NCAA Football community site. Today I want to break down some of the improvements coming to NCAA Football 13’s Road to Glory mode.

To start with, let’s talk about some of the community requests that have been implemented this year. With users having four seasons to move from prized recruit to star player, some Road to Glory fans want to ramp up quickly and get playing time as soon as possible, while others want to move more deliberately up the depth chart after putting in the hard work in Practice and any Playing Time they may receive each week. In NCAA Football 13, Road to Glory has added in difficulty options (Freshman, Varsity, All-American, & Heisman) that will directly affect your progression in Coach Trust, XP, and Gameplay. This will give users the opportunity to play and progress the way they want within Road To Glory.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of Road to Glory in the past was the lack of touches for your player. This year the play-calling has been tuned to provide more carries for running backs and more pass plays for quarterbacks. Now your player will have more opportunities to shine and in turn, make the mode more enjoyable. Continue reading NCAA 13 Community Blog – Road To Glory

NCAA Football 13 Playbook #5 – Road to Glory Dev Blog

What’s going on NCAA  Football Community? It’s Alex Howell, back again to fill you in on my pride and joy, Road to Glory. Last year we introduced a lot of new and exciting features, so let me tell you a little about what we worked on this year.

The biggest feature coming to RTG, which you might have seen during the Heisman Challenge reveal, is Reaction Time. Without going into a terrible amount of detail since the cat is out of the bag, Reaction Time slows down the game when you hold the Left Trigger/L2. It’s simple, fun, and highly addicting.

 

Reaction Time is counted in seconds, and is depleted as you use it. So any time during the play when you hold LT/L2, you’re instantly thrown into Reaction Time. Then, when you release the trigger, you’re back at full speed. The transition flows extremely well from being in Reaction Time to being out ofit, because it does not take away from the overall game experience. Every camera angle for Reaction Time was tuned to bring you as close to the action as you could get, without losing track of what’s happening on the rest of the field.  Continue reading NCAA Football 13 Playbook #5 – Road to Glory Dev Blog

NCAA Football 13 Playbook #4 – Heisman Challenge Dev Blog

What’s going on NCAA fans? Hard to believe the football season is not far away! I know most of you are starting to get the college football “itch”, well we have been feeling that way ever since ‘Bama took the title again! This year we’re trying to scratch that itch with a brand new mode in NCAA Football 13and it’s called the Heisman Challenge.

Now, to be honest, before I started working on Heisman Challenge I never realized how absolutely amazing some of these guys’ Heisman winning seasons were. Take for instance, Ohio State’s Eddie George.  This incredible running machine averaged 150 yards rushing a game. Archie Griffin? He only rushed for 5,589 yards on 924 carries in his career.  Oh yeah…did I mention he took home the Heisman hardware two times?

So for starters, let’s cover the basics. What is this Heisman thing and why should you care about it? Continue reading NCAA Football 13 Playbook #4 – Heisman Challenge Dev Blog

NCAA Football 13 Community Blog – Heisman Challenge

Hi NCAA fans, Brian Parker from EA SPORTS Game Changers here to share all the details about the newest feature in NCAA Football 13. Since 1935, the Heisman Trophy has been awarded to 74 different college football players judged to be the most outstanding athlete in a given season.  The 25-pound bronze trophy is perhaps the greatest individual achievement any collegiate athlete can attain, and NCAA Football 13’s new “Heisman Challenge” mode is a testament to the importance of this yearly award.

It all starts with the cover of the game, featuring reigning Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor University as well as Barry Sanders, the 1988 Heisman Trophy winner – and former Oklahoma State Cowboy – whose legend continued into the NFL as a member of the Detroit Lions.  As Griffin III prepares to begin his own NFL career with the Washington Redskins, NCAA Football 13 allows gamers to use both athletes—as well as many others—in an attempt to replicate or even surpass the impressive statistics of each player’s Heisman Trophy campaign.

During my time with a work-in-progress build of the game at a recent Community Event, I got to sample the mode using Barry Sanders.  Since I was only 4 years old when Sanders was tearing up the turf in Stillwater, Oklahoma, much of my understanding of his 1988 season is left to video highlights and statistical records.  Thankfully, EA SPORTS sat down with each of the athletes featured in the Heisman Challenge mode to record face-to-face video interviews, which are interspersed over the course of the season as you play. Sometimes the videos are triggered by surpassing one of the athlete’s records in your season, or just as a result of an upcoming rivalry game like the Bedlam Series between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.  In each case, hearing the athlete describe the achievements of their Heisman season helps to understand the individual outside the lines, reflecting back on glory days.

Continue reading NCAA Football 13 Community Blog – Heisman Challenge