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Penn State to Participate in EA Sports Video Game, with Conditions

Penn State says 'yes' to EA Sports but could withdraw if the video game "does not meet University expectations."

Penn State will allow its football program to be represented in EA Sports' planned revival of its college football video game, though with some conditions.

The athletic department said in a statement that it will follow the game's progress, along with that of name, image and likeness legislation making its way through the NCAA, Congress and multiple states. Penn State said it will reserve the right to "withdraw" its participation if the game does not meet university standards.

"Penn State’s approval to move forward with the new EA Sports College game was conditioned on being able to monitor the development of the program with the ability to withdraw if it does not meet University expectations," the athletic department statement said. "Penn State understands that EA Sports is following the developments regarding name, image and likeness and plans to take steps to include student-athletes if the opportunity arises. We will continue to monitor as events unfold."

In February, EA Sports announced plans to revive its popular college football video game. No release date was announced, though the game is not expected this year.

Notre Dame became the first major program to announce that it would not participate in the game until rules are established regarding player representation. Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame's athletic director, said the university welcomes the game's return but is waiting for more information.

"As those rules are developed, it is our strong desire that student-athletes be allowed to benefit directly from allowing their name, image and performance history to be used in the game," Swarbrick said.

According to The Athletic, seven programs nationwide have said they will opt out of the game. In the Big Ten, Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska and Illinois have announced plans to participate. Northwestern and Wisconsin will not, according to The Athletic. 

Several states, including Florida, California and Michigan, have passed legislation allowing athletes to be paid for commercial uses of their name, such as endorsements or appearance fees. The NCAA is examining such legislation as well.

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