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EA Sports Eluded 'NCAA Licensing' Amid its College Football Reboot

By: Zach Weisleder

After an eight-year hiatus, EA Sports announced earlier this week that its college football series will return.

Since 2014, when then-Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson donned the cover of NCAA Football 2014, college football and Esports fans around the world have felt a sense of emptiness.

That emptiness has since been filled. Since the games' release in 2013, EA Sports has been pressured externally to relaunch the game due to high demand and nostalgia. While there is plenty of missing information regarding what the game will look like structurally or even when it will be released, their brief Twitter announcement on Feb. 2 ended the eight-year drought.

Currently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) prohibits profit-sharing with its college athletes. The same rules apply within the Esports world, too. EA Sports is not allowed to pay collegiate players to use their names in the game. While the narrative is slowly changing, and in certain states players are allowed to profit off their image and likenesses, EA Sports is playing it safe in the interim. In their press release this week, they avoided the use of the four letters 'NCAA'.

Despite not having the famed four letters in its title, the game will likely not see any dip in purchasing projections upon its release. EA Sports' agreement with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) will grant them unequivocal access to more than 200 schools' uniforms, logos, and traditional pageantry. The avoidance of the word 'NCAA' might even give the development team at EA an unprecedented amount of leeway when it comes to creating different game modes and postseason scenarios.

By eluding the binding four-letter word, EA has been given the opportunity to create its most robust sports game yet. In its previous two editions of 'Madden', EA implemented subtle teases of an eventual collegiate football return in its "Face of the Franchise" story mode. The universal approval of the game mode from the games' buyers made the companies' decision an easy one.

NCAA Football 14 is still played to this day because of its nostalgia and creatively robust game-modes. While the legal parameters are inevitable, the important takeaway from this announcement and eventual release are that EA Sports was able to revive its legendary video game series without using the acronym 'NCAA'.

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