EA Sports College Football 25 offers biggest NIL deal: More than 11,000 players could be paid to appear in game

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For many college football fans and gamers, EA Sports NCAA Football was a must-play series from the mid '90s to the early 2010s. The franchise was a success until lawsuits regarding players' name, image and likeness forced EA Sports to discontinue the franchise following NCAA Football 14.

However, with new NIL rules in place, EA Sports can finally bring back the popular video game series, and will do so with EA Sports College Football 25.

Getting the name, image and likeness rights for every college player will be quite the undertaking. The video game will include all 134 teams in the FBS. That means 11,000 players need to opt in to EA Sports' offer to be represented in the game. That offer is believed to be "the biggest NIL move to date," according to the Sports Business Journal.

EA Sports offered each player $600 and a copy of the game for either Playstation or Xbox, per The Athletic. That offer went out to a maximum of 85 scholarship student athletes at each FBS program. Players can choose to opt in or out of the deal any time before the season begins. If they opt out, they will be replaced with computer-generated generic players.

Players can opt in through Learfield's Compass app, and OneTeam Partners, who has worked with EA Sports for other video game titles, will handle the NIL payments.

EA Sports will also send out "ambassador" offers that include greater compensation. These offers will include the highly-anticipated cover athlete.

Navy, Army and Air Force players are not allowed to accept NIL money, however, they are expected to be included in the upcoming game.

What is the release date for EA Sports College Football 25?

EA Sports College Football 25 is set to release this summer on Playstation and Xbox consoles. The franchise announced this via the game's official teaser trailer released in mid-February. 

There isn't a specific date set for the release yet. The end of the teaser trailer said the full reveal will come in May.

The college football season kicks off Aug. 24, so the game will likely be out before then.

Who is the cover athlete for EA Sports College Football 25?

The cover athlete is the most coveted position for any sports video game, especially for one with an 11-year hiatus.

In previous editions of the NCAA Football franchise, a college athlete who turned pro was selected as the cover athlete. However, the new NIL rules allow for current collegiate athletes to be chosen.

While there isn't an official announcement for who the cover athlete is, Shedeur Sanders of Colorado has expressed interest via X (formerly Twitter).

Other candidates could include Caleb Williams, Marvin Harrison Jr., Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr., all of whom are entering the NFL Draft.

Since the video game series began in 1994, there have been 12 quarterbacks to be featured on the cover. Running backs were represented six times and wide receivers four. Head coach, cornerback, full back and linebacker each had one appearance.

Denard Robinson, former quarterback for Michigan, was the cover athlete for NCAA Football 14, the last game to release.

Who will be the announcers in EA Sports College Football 25?

Every sports game needs the announcing crew to enhance the user experience, creating a more realistic feel to every virtual moment. EA Sports College Football is doing so with the top college football broadcasting duo of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit.

Additionally, Rece Davis, Kevin Connors, Jesse Palmer and David Pollack also announced that they will be in the game. Herbstreit, Davis and Pollack were in NCAA Football 14, the franchise's last version of the game.

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Brendan O'Sullivan is an editorial intern for Sporting News.