EA is returning to college football after an extended eight-year break.
According to ESPN’s SportsCenter, some format of the popular video game featuring college football teams battling it out will come back at an unspecified date in the near future.
EA Sports partnered with collegiate licensing company CLC to obtain the right to use FBS schools, traditions, uniforms and playbooks, but will for now proceed without rosters that include the names, images or likenesses of real college players.
Due to current rules, college athletes cannot sell their likeness while still in school.
The sudden return of the once-popular video game series has prompted many to ask: what changed? Why is it suddenly returning? As far as some fans are concerned, the answer is Barstool Sports personality Dan ‘Big Cat’ Katz.
During the height of the pandemic, ‘Big Cat’ began livestreaming himself playing NCAA 14. He created an entire ‘Coach Duggs’ character with whom he played in Dynasty Mode. Somehow, somewhere along the way, Coach Duggs morphed into an actual human being who is now employed by Barstool.
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) May 22, 2020
At one point, while playing as Tennessee in the National Championship game, Big Cat’s livestream on Twitch earned him 127,000 viewers. To put that into perspective, that’s way less than the amount of people who watched Dave Portnoy’s sex tape, but way more than the amount of people who still remember who Suitman is.
Is all the attention ‘Big Cat’ brought to the game less than a year ago responsible for it suddenly being brought back? It’s hard to say. EA didn’t offer any specific reasons for this decision, but the correlation is hard to ignore.
Now we know what motivates Gronk to play so hard. https://t.co/xFnKnjoXQ4
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 24, 2021
Between 1997 and 2014 EA’s college football offering used the name ‘NCAA Football.’ Prior to that, ‘College Football USA’ was used for two years. The new version will reportedly not have the NCAA name, but simply go by EA Sports ‘College Football.’