FOIA application scores EA Sports College Football details

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Details of the next part of “EA Sports College Football” came from an unusual source on Friday: a FOIA request.

Journalist Matt Brown and author of the “Extra Points” newsletter have sent requests to FOIA or the Freedom of Information Act to dozens of universities to gather information about the 22nd part of EA Sport’s college football video game franchise. It has been dormant since 2013. On Friday, Brown announced that the game’s development is “on the pile” and that the title is about to be released next summer, according to emails from the Collegiate Licensing Company and several universities.

According to Brown’s findings, EA Sports is undergoing a tedious process of collecting photos and audio files for each of the 1st-tier college football programs in which it participates, including team songs and cheers from the stands, to recreate the game day experience. The company also requires schools to explain how teams use and distribute player helmet stickers on a weekly basis to recreate the same detail over a season, e.g.

EA Sports did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to emails received by Brown, the Collegiate Licensing Company has told universities that nearly 120 schools have conceptually agreed to participate in the video game. (There are 131 schools in NCAA Division 1 football.) And participating schools are expected to earn anywhere from $ 10,000 to $ 100,000, according to their organization’s historical AP Top 25 ranking.

“I’ve been told that the rest of the schools continue to supply assets and are communicating as if they intend to play the game,” said Brown, 35. “Some of those organizations, like Northwestern, Tulane and Notre Dame, have said we won’t be in the game if we don’t pay the players.”

The main reason for the interruption of the series was the inclusion of real players in the game and the use of their names and images due to unpaid use of similar players who were taken to EA and NCAA courts. Earlier, the NCAA banned payments to college athletes, but a recent Supreme Court ruling overturned the ban, paving the way for players to be compensated for entering the game. Last year, a senior lawyer representing athletes in an anti-NCAA case told The Post that EA Sports was willing to pay athletes.

“I’ve been told that there is a high level of expectation in entities that work in the licensing world that athletes will get paid and come into play,” Brown said. “It would be really amazing if that wouldn’t work out.”

Brown told The Post that he had collected all this information after requesting 60-70 public records from schools with college football programs. In February 2021, after EA Sports announced that it would reinstate the college football franchise, Brown created a spreadsheet and began sending public records requests to universities with football programs. Brown said he does the job because he runs a business and his audience “cares a lot about these things.”

“The nice thing about this is that you’re working with a lot of public bodies, because there’s a paper trail that is available in a way that is not something like Madden or 2K,” Brown said. “A lot of people play video games, so a lot of people are interested in these stories.”

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Since April 2020, Brown has been writing full-time writing about college sports funding and licensing for his newsletter and podcast. It has an entire section of its website dedicated to the public records obtained in its reports, including financial reports and training contracts for certain schools. Some schools and organizations charge processing fees for punching record applications, and Brown estimates that he has spent somewhere in the “low three figures” getting records from organizations. For Brown, the game in EA Sports – and whether the players will appear in the game – is a clear and practical example of how players can benefit economically from long-standing NCAA policy changes.

“More people are playing this video game than buying jerseys and definitely buying shopping cards,” Brown said. “This is by far the most popular. So if I want to write about these issues, it’s a good tool to do that. “

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