Swarbrick announces Notre Dame will abstain from participating in EA Sports game
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Despite the college football season wrapping up well over a month ago, Notre Dame continues to make a splash — this time, becoming the first school to temporarily withdraw their participation from EA Sports’ new college football video game.
On Feb. 2, the sports video game developer announced the return of its college football series for the first time since 2013. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick released a statement Monday in response, announcing the University would not be participating for the time being.
Swarbrick explained the hold is contingent on waiting until “rules have been finalized governing the participation of our student-athletes.” He went on to say that the University shares a strong desire for allowing student-athletes to “benefit directly from allowing their name, image and performance history to be used in the game.”
For years, student-athletes and colleges alike have found themselves in gridlock over ownership and compensation rights. This past April, the NCAA publicly supported allowing student-athlete compensation for “third-party endorsements” — essentially, payments that aren’t directly from the college or university. The conversation continues to evolve and more details are expected to be announced in the coming months.
According to EA Sports general manager Daryl Holt, while EA Sports is currently in conversation with schools to include naming and image rights, they’re prepared to proceed without them. A release date for the game has not been set — however, Holt did confirm to ESPN that the game won’t be released within the year.
Swarbrick’s announcement made Notre Dame the first school to publicly abstain from participating.