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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

FAU Football: Upcoming Electronic Arts Sports video game and its controversy

Some college players believe that the game may impact their NIL worth
Exterior+photo+of+Howard+Schnellenberger+Field+at+FAU+Stadium.
Jaden Wiston
Exterior photo of Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium.

It has been almost a decade since there’s been a college football video game due to the lawsuits of players’ name, image and likeness (NIL) in the 2014 Electronic Arts (EA) College Football Game. 

There is speculation that the game may impact an athlete’s NIL worth, as the compensation is $500. 

NIL is a privilege that allows a college athlete to monetize off of their name, image, and likeness. Before this legislation under the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) policy, athletes were prohibited from using NIL to generate revenue.

FAU junior offensive lineman Alex Atcavage said that the opportunity to be in a video game makes it worth it to him and he is not as concerned about the $500 profit.

“Personally, I care more about being in the game than the money. It’s something that 30 years from now you can look back on and show your kids that you were in the game,” Atcavage said.

Sophomore tight end Carter Boatright predicts that this could affect the NIL value for the better when it comes to college football. 

“I think that with the new college football game releasing soon it will cause the NIL value to change a lot. We have not had a new college football game since NCAA 14. Back then, there was no NIL. With introducing this new game, players will want compensation from being featured in the game,” Boatwright stated. 

Redshirt junior long snapper Nick Marino understands why star players may not like the idea of getting paid the same as a player who rarely sees the field, but he also mentioned that if the pay is different depending on playing time, those players who rarely see the field could use this as motivation.

“Personally my thoughts on someone who is labeled as a star that is making more money than someone who doesn’t see the field makes sense,” Marino said. 

Jason Stahl created the College Football Players Association (CFBPA) to ensure that college football players everywhere can exercise the right to make decisions for themselves.

Justin Falcinelli, vice president of the CFBPA, spoke about their statement made on June 7, telling players to boycott the game due to the lack of compensation.

“Players should boycott signing away their NIL to EA on this deal because they did not have a seat at the table negotiating this deal. This is a deal that was made by two third-party groups, neither of which represent players, that was made behind closed doors without any player input,” Falcinelli said. “This is the second major group licensing deal by OneTeam partners (the first being jersey sales) that is being made on behalf of the players, and getting them a very low payout from what should be 99% of players’ most lucrative NIL opportunities.

OneTeam is a company that helps maximize the value of athletes rights through the media and marketing. 

“Players need to realize that they do have control in these deals and don’t need to be thankful for the scraps they are offered, they can and should be the group that is in control of direction of the sport, because they are the sport,” Falcinelli said. “They do the work, they make the plays, they damage their bodies, and they deserve to have a seat at the table and to be compensated fairly.”

Falcinelli believes that the release of this video game may cause friction between players and the NCAA.

“This game is only the most recent example of players being taken advantage of by outside for-profit groups, and it needs to be discussed more. When this game deal was announced, it was celebrated and then quietly faded into the background, but it needs to be scrutinized. We want to help make players aware of what’s going on in the background, and let them know they can make an impact if they want to,” he said.

Others believe that the compensation that the athletes receive will be worth it due to the amount of commitment and hard work they put in on the field.

Billy Hawkins, a professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance at the University of Houston, is currently conducting research on NIL legislation and athletes who are benefiting the most from this legislation.

“I see it as progress toward economic emancipation for the college athletes who are now able to monetize their NIL,” Hawkins said. “It is disrupting the former system of amateurism, which was the foundation upon which the NCAA was allowed to exploit the athletic labor of college athletes.”

Hawkins went on to talk about the possible struggle between state and federal NIL legislation.

Hawkins also said, “Similar to the one mentioned previously where there is lack of cohesion among state NIL legislation, it will cause problems; unless there is some form of NIL legislation passed at the federal NIL level. Then, the Supremacy Clause will trump state laws.” 

A supremacy clause ensures that the federal constitution takes precedence over state laws and even state constitutions.

Matt Brown, publisher of the Extra Points newsletter and an expert in NIL legislation, called NIL a “life-changing policy” but doubts the possibility of compensating each athlete with the same small fee.

“Being good at football does not make you more marketable,” said Brown. “The best player on the team that only plays football and Call of Duty with 800 followers will probably not make the same as someone more marketable on social media.”

Going more into depth into NIL from the college sports standpoint, Brown mentioned group license which states “every individual apart of that deal gets the same amount of money.” He also states that “it would be impossible for EA or anybody to negotiate that many individual deals.”

As of Tuesday, EA Sports announced that the College Football video game will be released in the summer of 2024, per PFF College’s X.

Jahsheem Benjamin is a Staff Writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @JBenzzofficial.

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