EA Sports bringing back college football video game as early as 2022

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The Telegraph

Golf’s leading authorities signalled their intention to rescue the future of the sport from the big hitters on Tuesday by unveiling proposals to rein in the likes of Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy. The game’s two governing bodies, the R&A and the US Golf Association, have paved the way for restrictions on equipment including limits on the length of drivers and the introduction of a standardised, tournament ball on the tours. Golf’s growing distance problem is causing great courses to be ruined The move is likely to leave DeChambeau’s plan to employ a 48-inch driver to overpower Augusta National at the Masters in April in tatters. It was the landmark day for which the purists – including the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods – had been waiting since the powers that be signalled last February that, with the “Distance Insights” project, they were ready at last to tackle the professional game’s length issue that their joint studies indicated was “critical to the future of the game”. The pandemic pressed pause on the progress, but it has resumed and has at last reached what is labelled the “solution phase”. With Martin Slumbers, the R&A chief executive, confirming to Telegraph Sport on Tuesday that a radical overhaul of the professional game was all but inevitable – “it is highly unlikely that we will end up doing nothing” – it will now start collecting feedback regarding the potential use of a local rule that specifies the use of clubs and balls intended to result in shorter hitting distances. In the short term, comments have been sought on the proposal to introduce a local rule reducing the maximum non-putter club length from 48in to 46in. The deadline for this is March 4 and, as it is expected to go through, it will allow Augusta and every other tournament organiser to put a brake on the long hitters. Slumbers denied it was “individual specific”, but accepted that the big hitters out there could be “personalised in this”. Yet the big battle will surely come in the attempts of the R&A and USGA to persuade the equipment makers to review the overall conformance specifications for clubs and balls, including specifications that directly affect hitting distances. This means the ruling bodies want to research topics such as the limitation of ball efficiency, ball sizes and weights, making drivers smaller in volume and shorter, and reducing the spring-like effect in faces and moment of inertia in club heads. They have chosen to go down the “local rule” to ensure that golf continues to have one set of rules to which professionals and amateurs of all grades will adhere. “Local rules” are not part of the official rule book, but are a modification or addition of a rule that any tournament committee can adopt for a particular competition. The rules would, in fact, be different in practice and it would ultimately mean that, while the weekend hacker would still be able to use the best technology can offer – there is no appetite to alter things significantly at recreational level – the pros will face game-changing restrictions. Slumbers, though, does not see it that way. “The local rule could be applied on a much wider scale than the pro game, or the elite amateur game,” he said. “I think it’s misleading to say it is just about elite golf.” No doubt the lawyers will become, and are already involved, with the equipment makers desperate to protect their billion-dollar industry, but the hope is that agreement can be reached following the conclusion of the feedback stage in November. “This is a serious problem and this is the time for serious thinking and I am confident the game and its many facets can come together to do what is right for our sport,” Slumbers said. It is a complex subject, but Slumbers pointed out that, while they intend the conversations to be as in-depth as they are responsible, they should not drag on. The likes of DeChambeau are already threatening the 400-yard mark and there is an urgency to curtail the bombers to ensure great courses do not become obsolete and that the game does not become too one-dimensional. “There is the balance of skill and technology that we are trying to find because the game is in danger of losing that balance,” Slumbers said. “After the lockdown, the different tours, governing bodies, golf federations, golf unions and bodies such as Augusta and the PGA of America came together to ensure the sport could get back and running as effectively as possible. That gives me confidence in this regard.” Mike Davis, Slumbers’s counterpart at the USGA, added: “This is about long term, for the whole of the game. Golfers need to understand that this every-generation-hits-the- ball-farther is affecting the game negatively. The cost of this is being born by all golfers. We’re just trying to fit the game of golf back on golf courses.” ‘Local rule’ route perfect plan to thwart big hitters The R&A and United States Golf Association are far from stupid and are acutely aware that they will have a fight on their hands with the equipment makers with their proposals to reduce the hitting distances in the professional game. Yet if they were expecting this essentially to be a battle with the bombers on Tour, then Webb Simpson highlighted that even the plotters could be in opposition. Simpson, the world No 9, is one of the shorter hitters in the elite, standing at 114th in the PGA Tour’s driving distance stats, having failed to finish in the top 100 in the past six seasons. If the power of Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy was suddenly curtailed, it would surely have to be good for Simpson’s chances of adding to the one major on his resume.

Video game maker EA Sports announces return of NCAA Football

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Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson catches a touchdown pass in front of Alabama defensive back Brian Branch during the second half of an NCAA Col… Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson catches a touchdown pass in front of Alabama defensive back Brian Branch during the second half of an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Alabama wide receiver Xavier Williams celebrates after a catch during the second half of an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game a… Alabama wide receiver Xavier Williams celebrates after a catch during the second half of an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game against Ohio State, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Video game maker EA Sports announced Tuesday that it is bringing back its college football series, which was shelved eight years ago after the NCAA was sued for not sharing revenue from the game with college athletes.

Though there is still much to be sorted out when it comes to whether and how college players will be permitted to profit from the use of their names, images and likenesses in the game, Electronic Arts has already taken steps to relaunch the popular franchise.

There is no timetable in place for the next release of a college football game, the company said. But EA announced it has reached an agreement with College Licensing Company, which allows the game maker to use school marques and logos.

“We’ve heard from the millions of passionate fans requesting the return of college football video games,” EA Sports executive vice president and general manage Cam Weber said in a statement. “We love the energy, tradition and pageantry of college football and I am beyond thrilled to say we are back in development."

The game was a big hit among players from 2005-13, but it was discontinued as part of the fallout from a federal antitrust lawsuit brought against the NCAA by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon.

The NCAA Football video game did not identify players by name, but the game simulated teams and players as they played in real life.

The video game was part of a broad legal challenge and a judge ruled the NCAA had been inappropriately using the names, images and likenesses of college athletes. The NCAA, through its licensing partner, pulled out of the game during the trial. The game stopped being made and fans have been pining for it ever since.

The NCAA is in the process of trying to change its rules to permit athletes to earn money from their names, images and likenesses, but there are hurdles and complications to getting that done — including a case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court later this year.

Last month the NCAA put on hold plans to pass legislation to allow NIL payments to athletes from third parties, with some limitations, because of scrutiny from the Department of Justice. Multiple bills have been introduced in Congress that address college athletes and NIL rights, along with the NCAA’s ability to oversee the issue. Plus, numerous states have been acting on their own NIL bills, some scheduled to go into effect later this year.

Maybe most importantly, the Supreme Court will be hearing a case involving the NCAA and antitrust laws in the spring that could lead to sweeping changes or protect the status quo.

Earlier this week the NCAA filed a brief to the high court. The association is challenging a lower court ruling in a different case that said NCAA rules were not in line with antitrust laws.

“The NCAA and its member schools are committed to defending the rules that govern college sports — the same rules that create an environment where hundreds of thousands of student-athletes can receive the life-long benefits of a college education and compete at the highest levels of their sport. We look forward to continuing to make our case before the Court,” said Donald Remy, the NCAA’s chief legal officer.

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football

E.A. Sports Will Resurrect College Football Video Game

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The Electronic Arts college football video game franchise, long beloved by sports fans but paused indefinitely years ago when it was swept up in wrangling over the rights of student-athletes, will be revived, the game maker said Tuesday.

E.A. Sports did not announce a timeline for the release of the game, which was last published in 2013, but Cam Weber, a top executive, said Tuesday that the company was “eager to bring a new game to players in the next couple of years.”

Although scores of colleges stand to gain financially from the game’s return, players, at least for now, will not be paid, nor will their names or likenesses be used. But with the N.C.A.A. inching toward new rules on how students may profit off their fame, specific players could ultimately appear in the game, which, in a departure from much of its history, is not expected to carry the branding of the N.C.A.A.

Over the years, no consequence of the warring over players’ rights has resonated more broadly for college football fans than the demise of the E.A. college football games, which sold tens of millions of copies. Part of their appeal was their realism and the inclusion of the sport’s rituals, including mascots, fight songs and renderings of famous stadiums.