It’s been over ten years since the last NCAA Football game, so there was understandable excitement when EA Sports announced that it was actively developing EA Sports College Football for new-gen consoles, like the PS5. However, the tricky tightrope of player likenesses continues to prove a sticking point, as the College Football Players Association is now in the process of arranging a boycott over the game in protest of low pay.
Obviously up until recently, college players who featured in EA Sports’ series went unpaid, due to rules around athletes receiving compensation. But new laws have reversed those rules, and athletes are now eligible to be paid for having their likenesses featured in the game. The publisher has allegedly earmarked $5 million to compensate players, but with approximately 10,000 stars to include, that works out at around $500 each, with no promise of royalties.
As a result, Justin Falcinelli, the vice president of the College Football Players Association, believes the publisher is “exploiting” players. “All current players should boycott this deal,” he said. “It is just a ridiculously low amount of money.” According to Falcinelli, some professional NFL players receive as much as $28,000 to feature, but there are obviously a lot less players in the league overall to compensate.
This is a really tricky situation for EA Sports, because obviously it needs to pay players properly, but a budget of $5 million already seems pretty significant for a game that’s unlikely to sell particularly well outside of North America. The publisher previously said that the “road’s open now” when it comes to the inclusion of player likenesses, but warned: “It’s still under construction.”
We suspect this story’s going to run and run.