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Rivals.com is out of NCAA Football 2006

May 24, 2005 at 11:00 PM
Rivals.com in NCAA 2006

I saw a rumor over at Operation Sports this morning that the deal between Rivals.com and EA Sports had fallen through. It looks like the rumors are true, as I got confirmation from a Rivals exec who said, We were informed that we wouldn't be in the game after all. That's what we know. Sounds like EA has told them the deal is off but they have not been told why.

Originally, NCAA Football 2006's improved recruiting system was going to feature Rivals' branding. I was really excited when the news first broke because I'm a big fan of both Rivals and the game. It sounded like a perfect marriage. The recruiting mode has always been one of the most enjoyable parts of the game and by adding touches like in-season recruiting, soft verbals, academic reputation, and recruiting pipelines they've really taken the realism up a notch.

EA has to have the NCAA's permission to include the schools and stadiums in the game, and it sounds like they were not fond of the recruiting service's involvement with the game. They have no problem with the Old Spice Red Zone Top 50 or the Sports Illustrated covers, but they won't allow Rivals to be involved? It's just one more example of the NCAA not having a clue about what they're doing. This is just my opinion, but I think they were just tired of Rivals and similar sites pointing out all of their mistakes and having a better idea what's going on at both the high school and collegiate levels than they do. The Rivals network is constantly on top of stories that the NCAA is clueless about and many that they would probably prefer the public not be privy to. Is this their way of getting back at them?

All that being said, I am of course still getting the game. I doubt they'll actually make any changes to the gameplay, most likely they'll simply have to remove all the references to Rivals in the game. I haven't seen any Rivals' logos in the screenshots thus far, so changing the text in a few screens should not be too difficult. The gamer doesn't really suffer, but I think everyone else involved in this does take a hit. The NCAA looks like a stupid bully, EA's game loses some of it's realism, and most of all Rivals.com has lost a lot of potential publicity. If any of the cool new features are removed they are going to have some very angry people on their hands.

Posted in Entertainment & Sports


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