Electronic Arts will compensate college football players for their appearance in EA Sports College Football, expected next year, but the money is so low the College Football Players Association is urging a boycott of participation.
That’s according to two reports, one of them setting the cash pool for all college players at $5 million, or about $500 per player. They will not be paid royalties on the game’s sales, either.
The college sports website ON3 spoke to Justin Falcinelli, the CFBPA’s vice president, who called it “just a ridiculously low amount of money.” Likewise, the group’s executive director published a newsletter on Wednesday advising players not to take the deal.
Polygon has reached out to an EA Sports representative for comment.
Falcinelli, to ON3, elaborated that his organization had contacted current NFL players and were told that royalty checks recently ranged from $17,000 to $28,000 for players appearing in the Madden NFL series under the group license with the NFL Players Association.
Sportico in May reported that EA had linked up with OneTeam Partners to put together a group licensing deal, also setting the pool at $5 million for about 10,000 eligible Football Bowl Subdivision players (the highest tier of the college game).
EA Sports had developed and published an NCAA Football video game for about 20 years until 2013, when developments in a lawsuit brought by a former basketball player made the publisher’s situation untenable.
Athletes have recently begun being paid for so-called NIL deals (name, image, and likeness), which in the past would have rendered them ineligible to continue playing, after a California law guaranteeing college athletes’ right to be paid for the use of their likeness ended up changing the NCAA’s rules nationwide. With the changes to the NCAA’s NIL and eligibility policies, EA announced in February 2021 the College Football series was returning.
EA, a licensing partner, and the NCAA eventually settled that 2013 case for $40 million, a sum that did cover multiple years where players appeared in the game and were not compensated — but a sum that’s still nearly three times, per player, what EA is offering players for 2024’s EA Sports College Football.