National College Football Awards Association opts out of EA Sports College Football 25

On3 imageby:Pete Nakos03/08/24

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Andy Staples Updates on the EA Sports College Football Game | 02.22.24

For the first time in more than a decade, EA Sports is returning to the college football space.

With a full reveal scheduled for May and a July release expected, excitement levels keep rising. The first college sports video game to compensate athletes for their name, image and likeness to be included in the game, earlier this week the company announced more than 10,000 players opted-in.

There is one entity that has chosen not to participate in EA Sports College Football 25, though. The National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) has declined an offer, the association’s president Mark Wolpert told On3.

“The offer that has been made is not adequate for the rights fee for the awards,” he recently told On3.

What does that mean? Fans who buy the game and play Road to Glory or Dynasty modes will not have the chance to win real trophies that college football players are annually awarded. Before EA Sports made the call to cancel the series a decade ago, NCFAA awards were included.

Top awards will not be included CFB 25

The list of awards include the Bednarik, Biletnikoff, Davey O’Brien, Doak Walker, Grozo, Jim Thorpe, Maxwell, Outland and Ray Guy. The assumption is the Heisman Trophy, which is operated by the Heisman Trust, will be included in the game.

EA Sports did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Wolpert told On3 the awards were previously undervalued. However, the going thought was the exposure was worth being included in the game. He declined to give specifics on the new offer for the awards but called it a “nominal increase based on the 2014 number.”

“It was not something that was representative of any either major awards, assigning image rights and usage rights to a game which we all believe is going to be very popular and going to sell a lot of copies based on past history,” Wolpert, who is also the executive director of the Maxwell Football Club, said. “There’s an appetite for that game. And if brands are going to be represented there, we want to be compensated properly. So when I explained that to the EA rep, the response came back to me that if we choose not to do that, they’ll just make their own awards up and put them in the game.

“My thought at that time was, ‘Well, you have approached us about the importance of authenticity in the game, yet you’re very quick to dismiss awards, some of which have existed for eight decades. So how is the game authentic when you don’t have the authentic awards in it?'”

Door open for NCFAA to opt-in to College Football 25

Wolpert told On3 that EA representatives said that even if the NCFAA opted-in, the awards would not be integrated in time for this summer’s release.

EA has prioritized making sure current college football players are in the game. As previously reported, all athletes who opt-in will eventually receive $600 plus a copy of the game, typically valued at $70. With the goal of having 85-man rosters for all 134 FBS teams, EA Sports is now at roughly 87% of its goal after going over the 10,000 mark.

The only notable opt-out to this point is reportedly Texas quarterback Arch Manning. The former Five-Star Plus+ recruit will have opportunities to opt-in throughout the spring, leaving the door open for him to change his money.

The National College Football Awards Association has no plans to change its stance at the moment, though. Wolpert emphasized the door won’t be closing on the possibility, but the awards had to make a “business” decision.

“It’s really no different than what is going on with the players and their compensation. I mean, we have a number that we feel is a very fair number for EA,” he said. “To be frank with you, what our ask was, was at a level that would be rounding level to a game that’s going very likely to sell millions of copies at a $70 sale price point. There was definitely margin to pay the right fees that we should be able to ask for for that.”