Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Degree Level





Harris, Flint


For years the EA Sports NCAA Football series had been a long-standing success story in the world of sports video games. Combining the unique feel of collegiate athletics with the realistic nature of the game that its technology provides led the series to be a major source of revenue for Electronic Arts, Inc. in the extremely competitive and profitable industries of video games and sports merchandising.

However, the series came to an abrupt halt in 2013. Spearheaded by the O’Bannon v. NCAA lawsuit, EA was forced to discontinue the series after legal action was taken regarding the game’s unauthorized use of student-athletes’ name, image, and likeness. The landscape of collegiate athletics took a major turn in June of 2021 when the NCAA suspended its previous NIL rules and announced the implementation of a new “interim” NIL policy. This opened the door for the return of the series, which announced a comeback in February of 2021.

This thesis explores the impact of NIL on both the discontinuation and return of the iconic video game series by dissecting the historical context of the game, legal challenges involved with its production, and the ever-changing world of NIL policies to provide a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics at play.


College Football, NIL, EA Sports, Sports Video Games, Sports Marketing