EA cancels 2014 college football game, settles lawsuits with former players

[UPDATE] Publisher says it will not publish previously announced next-gen football game next year and is evaluating plans for the future of the franchise; lawsuits with former players settled.

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[UPDATE 2] Attorneys representing the student-athletes said in a statement that the amount and other terms of the settlement are confidential pending a court filing.

"I can say that we are extraordinarily pleased with this settlement, whose terms we will be proud to present to the court and to the public," Hagens Berman managing partner Steve Berman said in a statement. "When we began this case in 2009, we were venturing into a new application of the law, with little precedent, while facing monumental legal hurdles."

"When we filed the case, we felt very strongly that EA's appropriation of student-athletes' images for a for-profit venture was wrong, both in a legal sense and from a more fundamental moral perspective," Berman added. "These guys were busting their butts on the field or the court trying to excel at athletics, oftentimes to help win or maintain scholarships so they could get an education."

"Students agreed that by being student-athletes that they could not exploit their personal commercial value, an agreement they lived up to. "The same cannot be said about the NCAA or its partner Electronic Arts."

UPDATE] GameSpot sister site CBS Sports has learned that Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company settled a number of class-action lawsuits today. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, though CBS Sports points out that the deal will affect more than 100,000 current and former college players who have appeared in EA-produced basketball and football games.

Earlier today, EA announced that it had canceled 2014's next-generation college football game.

"I'm disappointed in that because there should be a game," said the plaintiffs' attorney Eugene Egdorf. "All that has to happen is the NCAA allow players to be paid and there would be a game. This is Step 1 to players being paid that should."

"There will be players who play Saturday who should be paid [for their services] as they should be," he added.

The original story is below.

Electronic Arts has canceled its 2014 next-generation college football game and is evaluating plans for the brand going forward, the company announced today.

"Today I am sad to announce that we will not be publishing a new college football game next year, and we are evaluating our plan for the future of the franchise," EA general manager of American Football Cam Weber said in a statement.

"This is as profoundly disappointing to the people who make this game as I expect it will be for the millions who enjoy playing it each year."

Explaining the decision to cancel the game, Weber said EA has been "stuck" in the middle of a dispute between the NCAA and student-athletes who are seeking compensation for playing college football. This is likely referring to former UCLA player Ed O'Bannon, who--along with other former players--is suing the NCAA, EA Sports, and the Collegiate Licensing Company over the use of their likenesses.

"Just like companies that broadcast college games and those that provide equipment and apparel, we follow rules that are set by the NCAA--but those rules are being challenged by some student-athletes," Weber said. "For our part, we are working to settle the lawsuits with the student-athletes. Meanwhile, the NCAA and a number of conferences have withdrawn their support of our game."

The NCAA ended its relationship with EA Sports for college football games in July. EA signed a new, three-year agreement with the Collegiate Licensing Company later in the month, though this contract now appears to be in question.

"The ongoing legal issues combined with increased questions surrounding schools and conferences have left us in a difficult position--one that challenges our ability to deliver an authentic sports experience, which is the very foundation of EA Sports game," he added.

Weber said EA is working to retain developers on the college football development team by placing them elsewhere inside the EA Sports organization. It is not clear if there will be any layoffs as a result of this decision.

NCAA Football 14 was released in July

Discussion

141 comments
ohjtbehaaave
ohjtbehaaave

The NCAA is such a joke of an organization.  It's all about the $$$ with them.

As for EA.  Take this time off from the NCAA game and have the Devs develop a NEW game engine!!!  At the very least come up with some solid physics and tackling like the game Backbreaker did.  Put this extra time to use and finally INNOVATE something!!! Enough reheats.

BBGee05
BBGee05

2009 NCAA football was the best imo.  You still had fun TD celebrations in the endzone that you could choose, a trophy room with all your trophies behind glass, and Corso was also in there giving his commentary.  It's just so empty withoutCorso.  The later games may have better pixels, but they're not as good in "gameplay" wise.  The newer NCAA games have the replay as ass level. WTF?  Who thought that was a cool idea?

Angelsoft717
Angelsoft717

While I don't believe that NCAA players should be paid, I believe along with their scholarships they should have their housing and food paid for at the very least. But even if I don't know if that will work. This has been a problem forever and has broken up great teams like the Fab 5 which is extremely sad.

dbene
dbene

How can everyone say "nothing is lost"....

The game was not perfect by any means but now we no.....ZERO college football game......anyone who has missed NCAA basketball knows this sucks. Anyone who likes NCAA sports and video games recognizes this sucks.

dbene
dbene

I'm still confused if they are simply suing over their likeness (on screen) and mainly the fact that it is the exact number....Why not just make the game random generated rosters and while everyone that does rosters is editing the names...they could also edit the numbers??

Abysthrian
Abysthrian

Well, a lack of innovation certainly doesn't help a franchise. NCAA Football and Madden both clearly struggle with this commercial disease.

Also, that's smart on the players side. I would hate to represent a team that later on finds out that people are making a dime off of a video game with me in it without my consent. 

Sorry, EA. I can't support this business practice either.

ps3gamer1234
ps3gamer1234

Why is no one talking about how they can not play NCCA Football on PS4 and Xbox One. The game would have better graphics then last gen games. They only talking about EA.

Rayrota
Rayrota

...and nothing of value was lost.

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

On a positive note, at least we won't have to put up with another yearly release from EA completely devoid of innovation that people buy purely because EA have the monopoly on the licenses. 

Maybe when the NCAA sort it out, 2k will buy the license :D

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

Arian Foster pointed out something very interesting when he told reporters he did accept payments when he was at college. He was playing on a saturday, in front of a crowd of 100,000 people who all paid for their tickets. After the game he'd have 100s of fans waiting to see him and get his autograph. Yet he didn't even have the money to eat because he didn't get paid, and his finances went towards paying for a place to live. 

The NCAA and the schools these kids play for make so much money it's quite sickening. Couple that with the popularity of the games EA make and you can easily see that out of all these deals, the kids are the ones who getting screwed on this deal. Sure they get a scholarship, but that doesn't feed you. That doesn't help you buy the things you need to live right now. 

College players deserve to be paid. It's sickening that the NCAA actually have it so players can't be paid in their rules and regulations.

SoonerSpirit80
SoonerSpirit80

Am  i   the only   one   who   feels   bad   that  there  will  be  no  more  college  football  games?  I  mean   yes  EA  is  i n the  middle  of it   but   in  truth  if  ESPN  made a   College  football  game  they   would  be  i n the  same  boat  so  stop  the  EA  bashing.  The  other  thing  that  makes  me  mad  is  that  the  ones  suing   are a  few  out  of  the  millions  of  players a  few  cried  cause  they were  not  getting  paid  and  Im  sure  that  these  people  have  NCAA  Football  before on  whatever  system  they  have.   This   just  makes  Me  sad  really

twisted_sith
twisted_sith

what did they expect would happen? this combined with the lawsuit on madden, EA have to use all their money to pay the spoiled athletes and now it's no longer financially viable to make the games. thanks a lot assholes. you killed a franchise with your greediness. what ever happen to playing for the fun, not the money?

at the same time, EA was wrong on both counts and it's only fair they pay the piper. looks like THEIR greed is also catching up with them.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Yeah right EA.  You knew exactly what you were doing, exploiting athletes along with the NCAA to let the money roll in.

I hope they took you to the cleaners with that settlement.

Yatsukiii
Yatsukiii

Good, maybe they will start to innovate now....

pboontap
pboontap

i used to be against paying players, especially when the student loan bills came in the mail, but i've rethought that position over the past couple years. for myself and many other fans college football was about tradition, school pride, and a sense of community with other fans. however college football is not about that anymore (if it ever was in the first place). 


when i see all the colleges jumping conferences, coaches bolting for the next big job, and the fact if a player gets injured bad enough, that player is released from scholarship and not given so much as a thank you. these kids are getting exploited, there no two ways about it.  

and that goes for all studen't athletes, not just football

Rafficus_III
Rafficus_III

I was a student athlete and received national offers. I still don't believe in paying athletes when they receive free room and board, tuition, and meal plans. Why? Because the academics suffer in the process and it's not fair to pay a gladiator over an innovator (scholar, school scientist, whatever). Most of these athletes pick a trash degree while playing ball to make life easier, but don't understand they're possibly hurting themselves in the long haul. Meanwhile, you have classroom ratios increasing and cutbacks so the schools can use the excess funds for pointless beautification and renovation projects. But you don't hear anyone asking to the non-athlete students for their projects or big think projects. My question is: if these college players are worth so much, and the tuition keeps rising for everyone, where the hell is all that money going to?

Triton
Triton

Bummer. I would think it would be a honor getting your image in a game. Not like the college pays you to play anyway. Guess if you are not good enough to make it to the NFL  you want to try and cash in and get what you can before you have to go get a job like the rest of us. Maybe look at it as a being a NFL intern, maybe that will help ya. Greed on top of Greed = lawyers win.

soulless4now
soulless4now

This changes nothing since EA will probably be named the #1 worst company in America again three years running. lol 

cdragon_88
cdragon_88

Yea guys, I'm sure every college player gets 100,000 tuition. LOL. You guys are something else. Get your facts straight instead of stereotyping all college athletes.

RunningMansKid
RunningMansKid

Anyone who complains about athletes not getting compensated doesn't understand all the crap we go through. Yes it's good for us but we're exploited by these organizations and companies making tons of money on us just because they don't use our names. Walk ons don't even get to eat team meals sometimes. It's not as easy as it seems on the outside. I'm glad this happened tbh.

sargentpsgamer
sargentpsgamer

So free tuition to school isn't enough payment for these students? Oh thats right, its the attorneys begging for a case that want the money, not the students.....

stziggy
stziggy

EA cancelled on this franchise for a few years now.

Alecmrhand
Alecmrhand

Paying college players is a horrible idea. They are already receiving up to 100,000 dollars in college tuition and expenses. They are part of a university not a personal business. If kids want to play for money at a level below the NFL, create a minor league system for football. There already is one for basketball.

Colleges would end up in bidding wars for the best players. Resources would be focused on one sport...two at best. Meanwhile, academics and every other college athlete would get screwed. So, what....they install rules to make sure that doesnt happen? Im sure that wouldnt turn college football into a mafia racket with big name recruits getting secret bags of cash, still forever changing the priority of universities.

College is supposed to be about education.  If you get yours free and get to play some games on national TV that eventually get you millions as a pro athlete, great.

Dont destroy the university system to fix a problem with a minuscule percentage of college athletes. 

Sidenote: I dont remember those NCAA games using the likenesses of any real players. 



kungfuj0
kungfuj0

This is good for a number of reasons.

1. It makes EA suffer to some degree, and any time EA has to suffer, a rainbow appears and a kitten is born somewhere.

2. It might help college athletes get paid, and they SHOULD BE PAID.  I don't want to hear SHIT about scholarships.  Johnny Manziel alone has been worth close to $37 MILLION to Texas A&M in barely 2 years there.  His scholarship is barely a fraction of that.

3. In terms of games, EA/Tiburon, who makes Madden and NCAA, can now have a single focus...Madden.  Hopefully without the split in focus, maybe that means a better Madden next year...maybe.

4. Maybe at the end of all of this, when the NCAA finally has to find some way to either pay athletes or at least let them use their OWN likenesses, maybe we can finally get college games that have actual player names and whatnot, so no more renaming rosters.

5. EA has to suffer.  Again, always a good thing.

HartPuncher
HartPuncher

Headline should read:

 EA suspends printing new "2014" sleeve for NCAA 2013 due to impending lawsuit. 

pboontap
pboontap

@Ayato_Kamina_1  

i read that article as well and i agree with him and you. it is sickening. i especially loved the part about how the coach would tell them to honor their sholarships only to drive off in his new lexus. 

 love to know how much success a person could expect when preaching morality to a kid with a growling stomach

pboontap
pboontap

@holhardy  

lol gaming ain't everything. especially when you can play any of the last, well 10, iterations of ncaa football and be playing the same game. i could swear i played the last ncaa game back in 2002

TargettPractice
TargettPractice

@pboontap That's because the student in "student athlete" comes first. If you're only in college because you're an athlete, you don't deserve to be there.

 I'd even go so far as to say there should be no organized sports allowed in college unless it's purely recreational, and they certainly shouldn't waste time competing against other schools in physical activities. College is a place to learn, and if you aren't there to do that and only that, leave so someone intelligent can take your place.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@pboontap Think about what would happen if they allowed colleges to pay the players.  Within years most programs would collapse and there'd be a dozen max colleges who got all the good players, even moreso than today.  Many football programs don't even break even right NOW.  You end up with....the NFL.  I watch college football for different reasons.

That said, some of the rules need to change.  Not allowing students to get jobs on the side or being able to profit from their "image" as companies like EA make video games about them is wrong.  But that is not paying them to play.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@RunningMansKid I'm glad EA's got one less game they can keep reselling on an annual basis. Might encourage them to mix it up. Of course, we both win because of NCAA. Thank you, college athletes. Maybe EA will work on some platformers for a change.

Rafficus_III
Rafficus_III

@RunningMansKid You are correct. Those of us who walked on received no benefits. No meal plan, no room and board, and no tuition. That comes down the pipe late in the game if we are phenomenal... but in most cases, never.

sethschroeder07
sethschroeder07

@RunningMansKid the difference is 99% of people agree its stupid for student athletes to have the rules around them they do. 99% of people never bought NCAA Football because it was programmed with #32 of TCU or #87 of North East Southwest State or #76 of Alabama. People understand that the NCAA locks down your life WAY TO MUCH, but I never got NCAA football because of a player, I got it because of the School Name and Conferences in the game.

koospetoors
koospetoors

@RunningMansKid One of my friends actually ended up quitting because of all the politics and bullshit, so in a way, also glad this happened.

PStrife
PStrife

@Alecmrhand These are nothing more then businesses trying to pretend that they are still educational institutes at the end of the day.  You fell for it.  This isn't how it used to be, these once pure educational instatitutes have become corrupted by the almighty dollar.

Everything changed.

FadeToBlack90
FadeToBlack90

@Alecmrhand As far as the player likeness goes, ilovecrackers pretty much hit it. They make the players the same ethnicity, general physical attributes, numbers and positions. Basically the only thing they don't add is the players names.

FadeToBlack90
FadeToBlack90

@Alecmrhand I don't think its a matter of the NCAA/schools paying players, as much as, should the player make money for themselves because of who they are and what they are worth? Any major athlete for a D1 football program is worth millions of dollars to the schools/ncaa. Between tickets, Jerseys/gear, tv deals, etc. that is a substantial amount of money. Make no mistake, it's all a business. I'm not saying there is an easy answer, but when a kid can't make $20 for signing his own name to a picture, there is something wrong.

ilovecrackers
ilovecrackers

@Alecmrhand They match up to their "skill' levels. They use their body similarity or something like that.  College players do not deserve a single dime. Since they get a free ride. Take away that scholarship, I'll agree to it then.

ilovecrackers
ilovecrackers

@kungfuj0 1. The Athletes will not be paid by ANYONE. Unless it's done illegally. NCAA has repeatedly said NO to paying players. period.

2. Johnny Manziel won't be worth much by the end of this year and next. He's a rolling down hill Quarterback. 

3. To say players don't get paid is ridiculous. There are some dirt poor players entering college football. They come out with a Rolex watch and mercedes benz at the of their Freshman year.

Now, do they deserve to be paid. Obsoletely not. Unless they take away a football scholarship. Athletes get a hell of a lot of shit, that people don't realize. It should be common sense.

wweraw123
wweraw123

@pboontap @Ayato_Kamina_1 They're not professional athletes. I could make the same argument about student teachers, except that they pay to have a full time job. These students make a choice by joining the team, knowing that they don't get "paid". Except that a scholarship is like them getting paid. You play for the school, and they agree to give you money to pay for your education if they give you a scholarship.

sargentpsgamer
sargentpsgamer

@ilovecrackers @kungfuj0 Its not fair that the NCAA gets to say no, meanwhile the NCAA makes billions because of these players. The only reason the NCAA says no is because colleges don't want to lose profit and the NCAA doesn't want to lose profit. Meanwhile they grab coaches for millions with no issue..... because these players are bringing in the money.

kungfuj0
kungfuj0

@ilovecrackers @kungfuj0 That's the whole point of it.  If they were getting paid ABOVE BOARD, there would be less of the 'under the table' bullshit that goes on.  And they most certainly SHOULD be getting paid SOMETHING.  I'm not saying that you give a guy a million dollar contract or whatever, but I think $300-400 a week in spending money is the LEAST that should be given. 

Mostly, I just want a guy to be able to use HIS OWN likeness however he sees fit.  If a guy can get 10k for signing HIS autograph, then he damn well should be able to do it.  A music student on scholarship can write a song and if that song sells, said student is free to sell it with no consequences.  If said student can make money, why can't an athlete?  What is the difference?

ilovecrackers
ilovecrackers

@kungfuj0 @ilovecrackers Oh they are given that. They just can't "announce" it. It would be a NCAA violation. This sounds bizarre because it's a she knows some who knows someone. But I have a friend whose friend's sister was given a brand new car and a new home to come play basketball for the university were I live. They do get money, the school wants to give them allowance, but they are clocked block by the dirty NCAA. Do, I think players should make money of their own name most definitely.