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EA Sports to block gamers from manually adding players who reject NIL opt-in in College Football 25

EA Sports has announced a unique approach for their upcoming college football game: players who decline to have their name, image, and likeness (NIL) featured will not be manually addable by gamers. This decision coincides with EA Sports’ initiative to compensate athletes for their inclusion in the game, scheduled for release this summer.

In a move aimed at acknowledging the significance of NIL rights, players who opt in will receive a minimum payment of $600 along with a copy of EA Sports College Football 25. They will also have opportunities to earn additional income by promoting the game. Conversely, players who opt out will not be represented in the game at all.

While the specifics of how EA Sports will prevent gamers from adding or creating opt-out players remain undisclosed, players will still have the ability to create their own characters—a popular feature from past college sports video games.

The decision to compensate athletes reflects a shift from previous practices, where college players’ likenesses were used without compensation, leading to legal challenges and the cessation of game development in 2013. However, with the recent approval of NIL deals for college athletes, the return of these games is now possible.

Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, views the opt-in offer as a significant step forward for athletes, emphasizing the importance of fair compensation for their participation.

EA Sports’ vice president, John Reseburg, described the approach to NIL as groundbreaking, with over 11,000 individual NIL deals being offered—a move that guarantees income for athletes who opt in.

To respect the rights of players who choose not to participate, EA Sports will replace opt-out players with generic counterparts based on historical positional strengths and weaknesses over the past decade.

Notre Dame’s participation in the game was uncertain, but their athletic director, Jack Swarbrick, confirmed their involvement, citing the opportunities provided to student-athletes through NIL compensation.

The inclusion of prominent figures such as ESPN analysts Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler, Rece Davis, David Pollack, and Jesse Palmer underscores the widespread support for the initiative.

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