the voice of Lakes Community High School

Lakes Student Media

the voice of Lakes Community High School

Lakes Student Media

the voice of Lakes Community High School

Lakes Student Media

Same Game, Different Pay

Paid college athletes make NCAA 24 a game changer
Same Game, Different Pay

From 1998 to 2013, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Football video games were enjoyed by fans all over the country. This was until a lawsuit was filed. It would take the beloved franchise away from millions of fans. That was until a decade later as NCAA 24 has now been announced.

The introduction of the first NCAA video game brought excitement to not only the consumers, but also the players. This was a chance for their name to be sent out to the world and a way to gain fame and more popularity. These games provided for several groups of people. For the main audience, the fans, it brought endless entertainment with five main modes players could choose from. Those included: the most popular, Dynasty/Season Mode, Team Builder, Ultimate Team, Road to Glory, and Nike Skills Trainer. Fans weren’t the only ones gaining something from these games though, the schools that were in the game also made revenue.

According to Business of College Sports, University of Wisconsin-Madison brought in roughly $143,000 from NCAA 14 alone. While these popular universities brought in big money, the student athletes in the game did not profit at all. This was the case for every game over the span of the 15 years. It wasn’t until 2013 that former student athlete, Ed O’Bannon decided that he could bring this to court.

Ed O’Bannon played forward for the UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) Bruins from 1991-1995. He ended his collegiate career as the sixth highest scorer in UCLA history. He would go on to be drafted into the NBA (National Basketball Association) as the ninth overall pick to the New Jersey Nets. Overall, O’Bannon would end up having a disappointing career, only playing in the NBA for two seasons. He would then move on to play for eight years in Europe. Although O’Bannon would never gain fame from his athletic career, he would become popular in another way.

While EA Sports and the NCAA made lots of money from their NCAA Football video game franchise, they also gained profit from their very popular college basketball games. These games were released from 1998 until 2009. The franchise would overall run out of business due to competition with another popular sports gaming company, 2K Sports. Their most popular games at the time included the College Hoops games and the NBA 2k games. Like the football games, these games also included real life college athletes each year. One of the athletes included in the early stages of the game was Ed O’Bannon.

While at a friend’s house in 2009, O’Bannon realized that his avatar and name were being used in EA Sports basketball games without his consent. He was also not being paid to be in these games, and neither were the other student athletes. O’Bannon decided to take the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Company to court over the issue. Eventually, O’Bannon would win the case, granting student athletes pay based on attendance rates from games along with other aspects.

The O’Bannon vs. NCAA case would force the popular EA Sports football games to come to an end leaving millions to think they would never play the games again. That was until 2021 when it was officially announced to be returning. Not only will this bring in the old players, but it will now also include the younger generation of football fans. The NCAA will avoid another lawsuit this year as they will be granting each featured player around 500 dollars. This should leave both players of college football, and players of the video game content. Many fans are looking forward to the summer of 2024 for the return of EA Sports NCAA Football.

“I was never able to buy the old ones because I didn’t own the console,” Sophomore Brett Beerbower said. “Now that I have the console, I will definitely purchase it.”

“I got the chance to play NCAA 08 one time,” Sophomore Mitch Gedville said. “It was a lot of fun. The game was really simple but very enjoyable.”

While many agree on their excitement for the new game, the argument on student athletes getting paid is much less one sided.

Beerbower said, “There are very talented players in college that definitely deserve to be paid.” “At the same time though, student athletes would just rely on the money and not really put the effort in.”

“I don’t really think they should be paid,” Sophomore Mike Reczek said. “They can get jobs like normal students and make money like everyone else. They are also probably already on scholarship so there is no real point in them being paid.”

Many think that student athletes do not deserve to be paid because they should have to get jobs like other students. Many also think that paying the athletes will take away from the effort of the game. Since July of 2021, college athletes have been able to be paid. While many think that this is not deserved, some think this is the correct decision.

“There are many talented athletes at the college level right now,” Sophomore Carson Norris said. “Those players definitely deserve to be paid. Maybe not at the level of the pros, but they should still be getting something.”

“If you are an athlete in college, the chances of having time to get a normal job like everyone else is low,” Sophomore Ethan Rodriguez said. “They should be paid because of the amount of work they put in.”

Both of these sides make a good argument, but the NCAA decided that athletes can be paid through NIL deals. NIL(Name, Image, and Likeness) deals are ways for student athletes to make money. If they are included in a brand deal with a company/brand outside of the NCAA, they can be paid money. Currently, the highest paid college athlete from NIL deals is Lebron James’ son, Bronny James. He currently makes a whopping 6.1 million dollars while just being a freshman in college at USC(University of Southern California). His biggest deals are with Nike, Beats by Dre, and PSD Underwear. The inclusion of NIL deals has greatly increased the desire to play as a D1 athlete along with being a student athlete in general. EA NCAA Football 24 will be one of the available NIL deals for college athletes in the upcoming year.

Many fans and players are looking ahead to the summer of 2024 for the return of EA NCAA Football. Fans cannot wait to be able to play the beloved games again, and players cannot wait to finally make some money from the games that use their name and avatar. Overall, the new game is expected to be an excitement for all.

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About the Contributor
Aaron Haley
Aaron Haley, Staff Reporter
Aaron Haley is a sophomore. He enjoys playing baseball as well as golf. He also likes to hangout with friends. He is a Detroit sports fan and his favorite player is Aidan Hutchinson.