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So It's Come to This: B1G, Pac 12, and SEC Bail from EA Sports

Sean Gardner

I am going to make this somewhat short and sweet because I probably should have dropped it yesterday when you all had more visceral reactions to the news. Regardless, as you might have heard, the Big Ten, Pac 12, and SEC all told EA Sports that they are not going to be licensing any of their logos, brands, etc. to next years iteration of whatever College Football game EA was planning on making. Here are some bullet thoughts, but I'll more or less just give you all this space to talk...

  • Are we pretty much at the point where the days of mass-licensing the likeness of college kids is over? The SBN article talks about this being mostly a preemptive move to hopefully either force schools to deal with this on their own OR to distance specific bodies - namely conferences - from any potential liability. I'm no lawyer, though we have a few on staff - but I think that sounds like a great idea. With that said, are we just going to go back to the wink and nod approach to games as well? Like, "Oh hey, this red team from 'Nebraska' isn't the Cornhuskers, they are just the generic red team with a #3 at starting QB. What a coincidence!"
  • What conferences can't afford to pull out of the licensing agreement with EA Sports? Rather, what conference benefits the most from keeping their name out there. I vote the American because I literally couldn't tell you all the teams they have at this point. I'm not even trying to be funny about it, I just can't keep up with their lame attempt to continue as a real, legitimate football conference. To be fair, I probably can't name all of the ACC either.
  • Will this help the O'bannon case or not affect it all? Again, I'm not a lawyer, so someone else will have to answer on this one. I'm guessing this is just more ammunition for O'bannon et al. With the conferences pulling out licensing agreements, it definitely looks like the video game and the power brokers understood what they were doing. Of course, this could also have been done as a CYA move by each conference commissioner as well. Sure, they're all hoping O'bannon doesn't win, but if he does, well, better have some backup plans. This seems like a good place to start.
  • The worst part of this for me personally is that I actually really enjoy this game, so losing it kind of sucks. It was always a fun way to get into football season for me. I know that sounds lame, but there is something awesome about getting worked by an 11 year old online and then sulking on my couch as I mumble incoherently about how 'cool' that kid must be in real life. This generally ends with me buying Oreos and wallowing in some shame over my sports video game habits. But yeah, losing this game sucks.
  • On the flipside, teams haven't necessarily pulled out of the game, so this gives us an opportunity to start naming conferences -OR- for EA to pull out some make-a-conference type of game. Heck, you could even create a game where it just is strictly historical teams that has zero ties to real people, except where it does... But yeah, we are dangerously close to this game getting scrapped or at least turned into the NCAA Basketball game that seems to have done so well.
  • Oh, on that note, we should set up some OTE NCAA 14 leagues. I mean, there have got to be plenty of people here who play. We can name it, "The Last Time We Actually Play This Game League". Okay, the name is still in progress, but this sounds like an excellent FanPost thing. Also worth noting, I am the world's worst commissioner, so I am already telling you that I can play, but do not ask me to organize. It just won't get done. But seriously, we could either do the B1G with reps from each team OR we should just play as the American or something.
And those are my thoughts. Discuss among yourselves. Kind of a rainy dreary day in Nebraska, so I'm projecting that weather on all of you. Sad we lose a football video game, but as Ted said in an E-mail about the topic, "The beginning of Division IV. Woo!" So there's that, I guess.