According to Brown’s findings, EA Sports goes through the arduous process of collecting images and audio files for every Division 1 participating college football program, including songs from bands and featured chants from the stands, to recreate the game day experience. The company is asking schools to explain how teams use and distribute stickers on players’ helmets from week to week to recreate the same details over the course of the season, for example.
EA Sports did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to emails collected by Brown, the volume licensing company told universities that nearly 120 schools have in theory agreed to participate in the video game. (There are 131 schools in the NCAA Division I football.) Participating schools are expected to earn anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000, depending on their institution’s historical ranking in the AP top 25.
“I have been told that the remaining schools are still offering assets and are still communicating as if they were planning to get involved in the game,” said the 35-year-old. “Some of these institutions, such as Northwestern, Tulane and Notre Dame, have said that we will not be involved in the game unless we can pay the players.”
The inclusion of real players in the game and the use of their names and the like was the main reason for stopping the series after EA and NCAA referrals to court due to unpaid use of player skins. Previously, the NCAA had banned payments to college athletes, but a recent Supreme Court ruling overturned that ban, clearing the way for players to get compensation for their inclusion in the game. Last year, the lead attorney representing the athletes in a case against the NCAA He told the newspaper That EA Sports was willing to pay the athletes to do so.
“I have been told that there is a high level of expectation within the entities that operate in the licensing world that athletes will be paid and that they will be featured in the game,” Brown said. “It would be really amazing to me if that wasn’t resolved.”
Brown told The Post that he gathered all this information after submitting 60-70 public records requests for schools with college football programs. In February 2021, after EA Sports first announced it was bringing back the college football franchise, Brown created a spreadsheet and began sending public records requests to universities with football programs. Brown said he does the work because he runs a company, and his audience “cares deeply about this stuff.”
“The cool thing about this is that you work with a lot of public organizations, and there’s a paper trail that can be accessed in a way that something with Madden or 2K can’t,” Brown said. “A lot of people play video games, so a lot of people are interested in these stories.”
Since April 2020, Brown has been writing full-time about college sports financing and licensing in his newsletter and podcast. whole section of His website Dedicated to the public records obtained in his reports, including financial reports and training contracts in particular schools. Some schools and institutions charge a fee to process records search requests, and Brown estimates that he spent somewhere in the “low three numbers” to purchase records from the institutions. For Brown, EA Sports—and whether players will appear in it—is a clear and practical example of how players can benefit financially from the shift in long-running NCAA policies.
“More people are playing this video game than buying T-shirts and certainly more than buying trading cards,” Brown said. “This is, by far, the most popular. So, if I want to write about these issues, this is a good way to do it.”