While EA Sports is reviving its long-dormant NCAA football franchise, it seems one giant name might be missing from its roster. Jack Swarbrick, Athletic Director at Notre Dame, recently announced his team will not participate in the title until rules governing student-athlete payments have been finalized.
The NCAA has been working on plans to offer college athletes the ability to earn money from endorsement deals for quite some time, although the deals are yet to be set in stone. It’s all a bit convoluted, and until all involved organizations come to an agreement, it seems Notre Dame will be withholding the rights to their image.
“Notre Dame Athletics welcomes the return of EA Sports College Football, a video game series that has historically helped promote interest in college football,” wrote Swarbrick. “Notre Dame will not, however, participate in the game until such time as rules have been finalized governing the participation of our student-athletes.”
ESPN has reported these rule changes might go into effect as early as this summer. EA Sports College Football isn’t expected to launch until 2022 at the earliest, so there’s still plenty of time for Notre Dame to review any changes and opt back into the game. The NCAA is hoping to have details hammered out by the start of the next school year, giving student-athletes a chance to earn a bit of income from various endorsement deals and promotions – including video game appearances.
Of all the teams in college football, Notre Dame is the only one to opt-out of the upcoming title from EA Sports. It’s possible other teams will follow suit in the future – but it’s more likely they’re simply waiting to hear the outcome of negotiations. EA Sports College Football is expected to launch well after the NCAA rulings have been finalized, and it’s likely much will change in the coming months.
As it stands, however, Notre Dame and anything associated with its name won’t be making an appearance in the upcoming title.
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Jon Bitner is an Associate Editor for TheGamer. His passion for gaming started with his first console (Sega Genesis) and he hasn’t stopped playing since. His favorite titles include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Team Fortress 2, Rainbow Six Siege, Pokémon Sword & Shield, Old School Runescape, Skyrim, and Breath of the Wild. He can usually be found playing the latest RPG, FPS, or some obscure mobile game. Before working as Associate News Editor, Jon earned a Biology degree and worked in the Biotechnology sector — experiences that taught him how to put words together and make sentences. When not playing or writing about the gaming industry, he enjoys sleeping, eating, and staring at birds.
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