One of the exciting things for Florida football next season is that NCAA 24 will be back on video game consoles, so even if the Gators are terrible on the field, fans can at least make the Gators good with their controller.
But the excitement for the game hit a bit of a snag as a report came out that college football players are wanting to be paid more than EA Sports had initially offered to include their likeness in the game.
This begs the question, how much would members of the Florida Gators be worth to appear in the game?
Florida Football: It’s in the game
We are on the record with saying that we don’t think the new NCAA football game is actually going to be good. This is EA Sports we are talking about, and they have lost their way since we last had an NCAA football game in 2013.
But because we all hate ourselves, we are all going to download NCAA 24 next July, and for at least one long weekend, we tell our wives and kids not to bother Daddy.
Or something like that.
But part of the reason why the NCAA franchise died in the first place was that EA Sports was sued for player likenesses as part of the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit. With NIL now the law of the land, there is a pathway to legally include players without having to utilize backdoor methods.
That appears to have hit a snag as a report from On3 indicates that the CFB Players Association isn’t happy with the proposal that players will be paid $500 each to include their likeness in the game.
So if $500 is too low, what should players get paid?
The Madden franchise pays out $17,000 per player. When you work the math out, EA Sports pays the NFLPA rough $30 million to include the likenesses of every player.
There are far more college players to include than NFL players, but even if you started with a $30 million pool to pay out players and spread it out equally across all 85 scholarship players on all 129 FBS teams, that would still come out to roughly $2,700 per player.
But NCAA is a different animal than Madden because players are more invested in creating a Dynasty than playing Ultimate Team. So those real-life players will quickly be cycled through in lieu of auto-generated recruits that we convince to come to Gainesville.
To counter that, if auto-generated players had enough appeal, EA Sports would have just continued the series with NCAA 15 with random players, and none of this would be an issue.
There is also an argument to be made that a player like DJ Lagway should make more money to be included than whoever the backup long snapper is for Florida football.
Branding over players
Personally, players should be paid closer to $2,000 or more to appear in the game. For the same reason why NIL exists in the first place, there will be far too much money made off the game to try and justify only paying each team less than $50,000 total to include everyone.
And after watching the ESPN Documentary on American Gladiators, where show creator Johnny Ferraro paid the Gladiators a laughable wage under the guise that the brand itself was far more valuable than any individual Gladiator, it does feel exploitative to tell players “They should just be happy to be in the game.”
Because if Florida football, FSU, Miami, or any other college football team were a strong enough brand to carry on the series without real players, we would have had that game by now.