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Kentucky and USC NIL Collective Supports Lawsuit Against EA Sports and Upcoming College Football Video Game

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Courtesy of Electronic Arts

College football and video games each bring in billions of dollars each year, and when they can come together they are a commercial success, as can be seen with the NCAA Football franchise from EA Sports.

The most recent release of the franchise came back in 2013 with the release of NCAA Football 14, which sold over one million copies and was one of the best-selling sports video games of the year. However, the franchise was discontinued due to legal disputes in regard to the usage of college athletes’ likenesses in the games.

When the NCAA passed regulations to allow student-athletes to earn money with their name, image, and likeness (NIL), a path could be seen for the franchise to resume. Just a few months later, in early 2021, EA Sports announced that the series would return and there is an expected release of summer 2024.

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While the release is highly anticipated by fans, there are some developments that could impact the release date or the game entirely.

Reports have indicated that EA Sports would pay each player an estimated $500, from a total cash pool of $5 million and would not earn royalties from sales. As of late, some players and now NIL agencies have voiced their displeasure with that, citing that is ” far below market value”.

Earlier this week, the Brandr Group – who represents top football programs such as Alabama, Georgia, and Texas – filed a lawsuit against EA Sports for this reason and is arguing that EA is “causing irreparable harm”.

“Unfortunately, EA Sports is trying to avoid paying collegiate football players a fair price for their participation in the Game, continuing the pre-O’Bannon pattern of large corporations taking advantage of young student-athletes and capitalizing on their NIL,” the lawsuit states.

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While it sounds like the lawsuit is related directly to compensation, it is more directly related to representation. Simply put, the Brandr Group wants to be involved in any deals between EA Sports and the 54 schools it represents, as so similar agencies.

Athlete Advantage is of those and is one of the largest NIL agencies in the country, representing high-level SEC players and USC‘s Conquest Collective. Related to Kentucky, they represent Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary and operate Kentucky‘s “The 15 Club” collective. The agency has voiced its support of the lawsuit.

“This lawsuit represents a pivotal moment in the pursuit of justice and rightful compensation for these talented athletes, and Athlete Advantage is honored to stand alongside Brandr Group in this crucial fight,” the agency said.

EA Sports has responded to the lawsuit and has stated that they “100%” plan to work with the Brandr group to find a solution. This will be an interesting development to follow as we near next year’s anticipated release date.

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Four-Star Safety, Top 200 Recruit Martels Carter Jr. Commits to Kentucky

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2025 Four-star safety Martels Carter Jr commits to Kentucky Wildcats over Auburn, Colorado, and Louisville.
UK Athletics

YAHTZEE!

The Kentucky Wildcats have added the top-ranked player in the state and one of the top safeties in the country to their 2025 recruiting class.

On Saturday, Martels Carter Jr. announced his commitment to the Wildcats!

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“BBN I’M HOME”

A unanimous 4-star prospect and top 20 safety nationally, Carter chose the Cats over finalists Auburn Tigers, Colorado Buffalo, and Louisville. He also held offers from some of the biggest programs in the sport, including Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, and Oregon among others.

Originally from Chattanooga, TN, Carter moved to Paducah last summer where he starred for Paducah Tilghman High School, helping them to an undefeated regular season and a deep run in the 4A state playoffs, falling in the semifinals.

While it’s okay to celebrate his commitment, it will still be a battle until signing day. Auburn is seen as Kentucky’s biggest threat with Carter planning multiple visits, and he also has a family connection to Deion Sander’s Colorado program.

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That said, he will almost certainly take an official visit to Kentucky this fall. Vince Marrow has made Carter a priority of this class and will do everything in his power to retain the talented defensive back.

Carter makes the sixth commitment for Kentucky’s 2025 class, to go along with two talented offensive players and fellow four-star recruits Quintin Simmons Jr (WR) and Marquise Davis (RB).

Also published on A Sea of Blue.

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REPORT: Liam Coen Leaving Kentucky for NFL Offensive Coordinator Position

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UK Athletics

On the eve of a huge recruiting weekend for Kentucky football, the program has received some bad news. Offensive coordinator Liam Coen is leaving for the NFL again, this time taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator position.

When Coen returned to Kentucky last offseason from the Los Angeles Rams, for his second stint as offensive coordinator, he talked about Lexington being a place that he and his wife had missed. In his return press conference, on January 12, 2023, he went as far as saying he wanted to be somewhere for a “few years”, at least.

“I want to go somewhere, make a real impact. Plant some roots for a little bit. Be somewhere for a few years — at least — that you feel really good about. I’m excited about being back in Lexington… I’m not in a rush to go anywhere.”

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That “few years” was just a year, but to be honest, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. After many games last season, Coen talked to the media with frustration about fundamental things such as lack of discipline and dropped passes. Even then, it always felt he was holding his words back. With his name circulating around multiple NFL jobs, it was clear this was the direction it was heading.

Now for Kentucky, it’s about getting the next hire right. In a time where offense is becoming the premium in college football, going through five offensive coordinators in ten seasons is not ideal. Paying $1.8 million to Coen, they have shown they will pay amongst the top in the country. Now, go get someone who keeps this core of offensive talent, can recruit, and brings much-needed consistency.

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A Piece of Will Levis’ Historic NFL Debut Displayed in NFL Hall of Fame

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Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis after his NFL debut.
© Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

During last year’s NFL Draft, Will Levis was one of the last players left in the green room after dropping to the second round. That moment fueled Levis, and he’s since earned the starting quarterback spot with the Tennessee Titans, appearing to have a bright future with the team.

Entering the season with no shortage of motivation, Levis entered the franchise as QB3 and wasn’t even on the active roster for the first six weeks of the season, being deemed the “emergency quarterback.” However, following an ankle injury to Ryan Tannehill in Week 6, the Titans gave their rookie quarterback an opportunity.

Levis certainly capitalized and had one of the best debuts in NFL History, throwing for 238 yards (19/29 passing) and four touchdowns. From the game, Levis has been put in the Hall of Fame. Well, at least his Houston Oiler throwback helmet from the performance has been placed on display in the Hall of Fame’s “Pro Football Today Gallery.”

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Levis started his career with a bang and had his moments. The former Kentucky Wildcat will look to build on his rookie campaign, going into a year where he should be the starter under new head coach Brian Callahan.

Also published on A Sea of Blue.

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