EA dropping 13 female athletes from FIFA 16 doesn't make anyone a victim
In 2013, the NCAA decided to end their deal with EA Sports because of lawsuits from former players who wanted compensation for allowing their likenesses to be used for free.
According to some fans, these athletes are greedy and should be thankful to even be featured in a popular video game at all. The more practical admit that if all players were properly compensated for their image, EA might not be able to afford making college sports games at all.
Whatever your thoughts are about players being compensated for their image ultimately doesn't matter. The 13 female athletes EA were forced to exclude to not jeopardize their collegiate athletics eligibility isn't a major blow to EA and at worst, was a slight waste of game programming time. The truth is iterated in their official statement:
None of these NCAA student-athletes or potential student athletes were to be individually compensated by EA SPORTS for their inclusion in the game.
That's right. In case you're not up-to-date on the state of affairs in regards to student-athletes in the NCAA, players are paid in a college degree and are forbidden anything else. In what has been brought to light in many a scandal, many times these degrees are "useless" or "easy" to get students to meet minimum GPA requirements to keep playing.
NCAA players are made to sign contracts confirming they are "amateurs" and in return cannot receive compensation or benefits that come with being an athlete like contracts, playing with "real" professionals, or even owning the rights to your own face.
A college degree might be enough compensation if education was a priority for the NCAA, coaches didn't make millions off of their players and refuse them anything for themselves, and players didn't occasionally starve.
Education not being a priority is been admitted by players all the time, whether behind closed doors or openly.
The reality is, the only thing this changes is slight disappointment
EA isn't suffering, the NCAA isn't suffering, but these students' former excitement has been taken from them.
This is super sick. Never would have thought in my life this would happen. Love it https://t.co/a0bOA2hXnD— Kadeisha Buchanan (@keishaballa) May 28, 2015
Sorry, Ms. Buchanan. It's more than just pride at stake for these athletes (or, "amateurs"). While it's all smiles on the battlefield, NCAA athletes have to consider the reality that they will be battling their own to become professionals. For NCAA soccer stars, only 1.4% continue on to the pro leagues. That is, if you're a man. NCAA doesn't even care enough to include women's professional soccer predictions on their main 2015 pages. You have to look elsewhere to find those abysmal statistics.
EA dropping these 13 women from FIFA 16 only means that they will have less exposure and bragging rights if they fail draft and have to give up professional soccer—and let's face it, it's still a very real possibility.
So we can all stop with the "poor EA" at this point. They don't agree with the NCAA decision, but it's not like they were paying extra anyway. With deals like this, it's no wonder many athletes featured in games don't even play them.