EA Sports Announces the Return of “EA College Football”


EA Sports

Above is the official announcement graphic for the return of “EA College Football.”

Jack Freeman, Co-Editor in Chief

Electronic Arts (EA) announced the return of their beloved National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football video game under the new name “EA College Football.”

The last NCAA Football game released was “NCAA Football 14,” all the way back in 2013. After a lawsuit brought upon the NCAA and EA by former college athletes for the use of college athletes’ likenesses without compensation, the game series was shelved. EA Sports vice president and general manager Daryl Holt explained the love and passion the fans had for the series in an article with ESPN.

“As we look for the momentum that we’re building on in sports, it all starts with the passion of our fans and the opportunities of what they are interested in,” Holt told ESPN. “I don’t think there’s a visit where I go outside wearing a piece of EA Sports-branded apparel that someone doesn’t go, ‘Hey, when is College Football coming back?'”

EA has partnered with licensing company Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) to secure the likenesses and traditions of almost every NCAA sanctioned college football team. However, it is unclear if the game will include player likenesses or generic players.

The announcement of the game came on February 2, 2021, at around 10 AM, with EA Sports simply tweeting,

This announcement sent shock waves throughout the football world and quickly made the rounds as people celebrated the beloved franchise’s return.

“I woke up being completely shocked,” Youtuber Jack Christensen explained. “[In my opinion,] ‘NCAA 14’ was the last great game EA ever made. When [the announcement] dropped, I was like, ‘Please don’t go the same way as “Madden.”‘ As a fan, you’re excited but worried.”

Woodside High School Government and Economics teacher Jessie Manzo shares a similar feeling.

“The thought was jubilant, super excited,” said Manzo. “Then I started thinking about economics and thinking about playing the college players, wondering about how that would work. Overall, I’m super excited and hope the players get their fair share.”

Once fans reeled in their excitement for the title, they got to workshopping what they want to be in the game. 

“The first thing I want is no microtransactions in the game – make it a full 60-dollar experience,” Christensen said. “Then I would love to see [the game] updated to fit the current college football landscape with the College Football Playoff and all that. Lastly, I just want to see the spectacular Dynasty and Road To Glory modes improved upon.”

While the more hardcore fans hope EA can deliver a product similar and better to their last college football game, more casual fans have simple requests.

“I just envision myself playing the game, hearing the fight songs, the traditions, the announcers. I want the small snippets of Saturday whenever I play it,” Manzo said. “I’m just so excited to see the detail that the producers put in the game. There’s always east coast bias, and I just want equal representation for the west coast.”

EA does face an uphill battle with the NCAA and licensing. While CLC does own most of the licenses for NCAA sanctioned teams, they don’t own all of them. EA has yet to secure the rights to Air Force, Army, Georgia State, Navy, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Troy, and USC

That battle doesn’t look to be going well for EA, either. So far, Notre Dame, Northwestern, and Tulane have opted out of being included in the upcoming title. These schools cite the fact that they want their players compensated for their likenesses.

“Notre Dame will not, however, participate in the game until such time as rules have been finalized governing the participation of our student-athletes,” Notre Dame’s Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick announced in a press release. “As those rules are developed, it is our strong desire that student-athletes be allowed to benefit directly from allowing their name, image, and performance history to be used in the game.”

As more reports come out, it sounds like many more schools are planning to follow in Notre Dame’s footsteps. These schools cite their support of a federal bill encouraging players to profit off their name, image, and likeness.

EA will have plenty of time to work with the NCAA, CLC, and other schools, as they announced their new game before beginning development. Fans will have to wait, and the earliest they may see a new college football game could be 2023.