They’re the biggest conference in College Football. They are the host to the past 7 consecutive National Champions, and 8 of the last 10. They are responsible for 4 of the last 6 Heisman Trophy winners. They are the South Eastern Conference, and they are officially the biggest blow to EA Sports attempt to continue their college football video game series, even without the endorsement of the NCAA.
First reported a month ago, the NCAA is under heavy fire, facing litigation over their controversial student athlete payment policies, or rather, the lack thereof, which has led them to the conclusion that they will not be continuing their decades long deal with the video gaming giant. News broke just days later that EA had entered into agreement with the College Licensing Company, which includes over 150 schools, and many claimed that, even without the NCAA, the game would remain largely unchanged.
However, with the news today that the SEC will not be included in the game, this can only be seen as a devastating blow. Being the biggest and most popular conference in the sport, and not having them represented will largely affect many fans decision to make their purchase next summer.
For those unfamiliar, the SEC currently houses 14 Division 1 schools; Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
In a statement to the press, the SEC has given their reasoning for the decision, and it largely tows the same line that the NCAA did in their statement last month:
Each school makes its own individual decision regarding whether or not to license their trademarks for use in the EA Sports game(s), The Southeastern Conference has chosen not to do so moving forward.
We will continue to follow the development of EA’s College Football, and any further conferences that decide not to take part in the game.