Category Archives: NCAA

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.

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EA Sports Cancels NCAA Football Series

ncaa140716b

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.

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?

Clash of the Blue Bloods 9:23 PM ET Tonight!! ON CBS

 Clash of the Blue Bloods

Can Kansas slow down the Juggernaut?

Kansas and their magical run to the National Championship culminates tonight in New Orleans against John Calipari and his KY Wildcats. KU should be outmatched at nearly every position…Kentucky’s length, outside shooting, depth, and Final Four experience (Lamb, Jones, and Miller) should be too much for Kansas to handle.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned don’t represent all the intangibles needed to win the National Championship. What KU does have going for it…chemistry, Bill Self, luck, and destiny…could marginalize Kentucky’s physical advantages.

I think that the ride ends here and Kentucky will be too strong offensively and defensively for KU to stay with. However, even in a loss, KU could be awarded the title in a few months when the stench around Coach Cal’s Program leads to an NCAA Investigation.

Either way…KU has no pressure on them tonight…nobody thinks they belong…or can beat the vaunted Wildcats. House Money. Rock Chalk!

Ex-Celtics Star Bill Russell Sues NCAA, Electronic Arts Over Image Use

William “Bill” Russell, former star center for the National Basketball Association’s Boston Celtics, accused the National Collegiate Athletic Association of using his likeness from his college playing days without paying him or seeking his consent.

The complaint is the latest to claim the NCAA violates federal antitrust laws by keeping former student basketball and football athletes from receiving compensation for the commercial use of their images and likenesses. The association has denied wrongdoing in those cases.

Electronic Arts Inc., the second-largest U.S. video-game maker, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, filed yesterday in federal court in Oakland, California. Russell accuses it of using his image in a “Tournament of Legends” feature on an NCAA basketball video game.

Russell, who led the University of San Francisco to NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, said in the complaint that the association sells $150 videos of the team’s championship games. At least 54 clips featuring him are available through the website of the NCAA’s for-profit business partner and photos of him through an NCAA online store, according to the complaint.

Russell, 77, is seeking a court order blocking further sale of the videos and video games, plus disgorgement of profits from them and unspecified damages.

Post-College Endorsements

The NCAA owns and licenses the copyright on the NCAA games cited in the complaint, said Donald Remy, the association’s general counsel. The NCAA doesn’t restrict athletes from profiting from their college accomplishments through post- college commercial endorsements and other ventures, he said in an e-mail today.

“Mr. Russell, like the thousands of other student-athletes who played the game, can capitalize on his likeness, reputation, athletic and academic successes as a student-athlete after college,” the e-mail said. Continue reading Ex-Celtics Star Bill Russell Sues NCAA, Electronic Arts Over Image Use

NCAA Football 12 Full Pre-Game Video

                                                          [NCAA 12 Video Preview ]

EA Sports has released a new video showcasing an entire pre-game sequence in NCAA Football 12. The complete opening to Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma is on display including OU’s authentic team entrance.

The presentation enhancements continue to be impressive for NCAA but there is something flat about the entire thing. It may be the voiceovers just sounding all too familiar, the long dead spots without commentary, the crowd noise not being amped up, or some combination of those things. Continue on to check out the video and leave any thoughts in the comments

NCAA Football 12 Is Yours to Rule

Customize your coach, conference, playbook and so much more.

It can be hard getting excited for an annual football franchise. Sure, there will be new players, new mechanics, and a new sheen to everything, but in reality, isn’t it just the same thing as last year? In the case of NCAA Football 12, the answer is “hell no.”

We already know that the presentation in NCAA Football 12 has been amped up this year with team traditions, the Georgia bulldog sitting on the sidelines, and so on. Still, there’s a lot left in this story, and it’s yours to write — particularly in the game’s Dynasty mode.

                           [NCAA 12 Video Preview]

One of the first “professional” video game articles I ever wrote was bitching about how my alma mater Mizzou’s coach was a fat ass in the NCAA games but not in real life. Well, five years after publishing that insightful editorial, EA and Tiburon have responded and given players the ability to create their own coaches from scratch. You can modify looks, set ages and even pick an alma mater. Save these changes, and you can share them with the world and every mode in your game. Continue reading NCAA Football 12 Is Yours to Rule

Patrick Peterson Garners 82 Overall As Madden 12’s Top Rookie (ESPN)

Patrick Peterson

Jon Robinson had an interview with Patrick Peterson, Rookie CB of the Arizona Cardinals & the highest rated rookie in Madden NFL 12.  Robinson known as a video game football nut since Bo Jackson in Tecmo bowl had this to say in his blog & interview over at the “mothership”:

I’ve been obsessed with cornerbacks ever since I first saw Lester Hayes dip his hands in a bucket of Stickum.

And growing up in the Bay Area, I’ve seen some greats run by me backwards, from a young Ronnie Lott to Mike Haynes to even a season of Deion Sanders.

Next in line to go “primetime” is the Cardinals first-round pick, Patrick Peterson. With P-Squared, we’re talking ball hawking, blanket coverage, and the type of return skills that make you think back to the days of Deion dripping in jewelry.

But I’m not the only one high on Peterson, as “Madden NFL 12” ratings guru Donny Moore has informed me that Arizona’s electrifying corner will be the highest-rated rookie in the game with an 82 overall, including 97 speed, 96 agility, 93 acceleration, 93 jumping, 77 catching (highest for any rookie CB), and 91 return. In terms of his defensive skill set, Peterson clocks in with 89 man coverage, 82 zone coverage, and 90 press.

Not bad for a kid who grew up gaming, dreaming of the day when he’d finally see his face in the “Madden” franchise.

“When I was a kid, my grandmother bought me and my brother every game that came out for PlayStation,” he told me at a recent EA Sports event showcasing “NCAA Football 12.” “We had like 72 games in our room, and we’d just play everything. My favorite was ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ but then my grandmother banned us from playing that game once she found out what was going on. So we’d play games like ‘Madden’ at home, but then sneak over to a friend’s house to play ‘GTA.’

“I have the PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, and the PlayStation 3, and when Sony comes out with another system, I’ll get that one too. I guess I’m just a PlayStation kind of guy.”

Continue reading Patrick Peterson Garners 82 Overall As Madden 12’s Top Rookie (ESPN)