The Weekender: EA Sports College Football Coming in 2023, Momentum Builds for FBS Breakaway, Urban Meyer Doesn’t Plan Return to Bowling Green

Own the group chat with The Weekender, highlighting the biggest stories in college sports, standout writing from Eleven Warriors, and a glance at what’s next.

One More Year to Wait

The return of a college football video game is one year away.

Extra Points’ Matt Brown reported this week that EA Sports is targeting a July 2023 launch for the long-awaited return of its college football video game. According to public records obtained by Brown, EA Sports has told colleges that “game development is in full swing, and the launch goal remains summer of 2023.”

That means gamers will officially have to wait 10 years between releases of college football video games, as NCAA Football 14 – the final EA Sports college football game released before the series went on hiatus – was released in July 2013. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel now that players can be compensated for having their name, image and likeness in the game.

Per Brown, “there is optimism that the framework for a college football player video game group license could be announced as early as this summer.” When it is initially announced, “the licensing agent won’t have anywhere close to every college football player, but will hope to sign the rest up after securing rights for a critical mass of athletes.”

More Momentum for an FBS Breakaway

As we wrote about in May, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith is among the leaders in college athletics who believe Football Bowl Subdivision schools should create their own governance structure separate from the NCAA exclusively for football.

Momentum toward that possibility appears to be growing. In an interview with The Athletic on Friday, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavoff became the latest prominent name in college sports to give his endorsement for FBS football to break away from the NCAA. And he says every other FBS commissioner he has spoken with also supports the proposal.

“We have to be realistic about the fact that football is a unique animal among the rest of the college sports and that there are conferences that should be more aligned and should be more in control of the future of high-level college football,” Kliavkoff told The Athletic on Friday.

“I’ve had conversations with several of the FBS commissioners, and I’ve been surprised by the unanimously support for the idea among the folks that I’ve spoken to about taking football rule-making and football rule enforcement out of the NCAA and investing it in an organization that is run by the 10 (FBS) conferences.”

While Smith has suggested the governance structure be under the umbrella of the College Football Playoff, Kliavoff said he wasn’t sure when asked if it should be structured that way. But he expects the 10 FBS commissioners to continue discussing the possibility of a standalone governing body for football during commissioner meetings in Utah this week.

Meyer Doesn’t Anticipate Return to Bowling Green

Urban Meyer lasted less than one year as the head coach of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, but given that he’s still only 57 years old, there remains plenty of speculation that Meyer will eventually return to the sidelines as a college football coach.

While marquee programs might think twice about hiring Meyer right now, an idea that was recently floated was the possibility that Meyer could eventually return to Bowling Green, the school where he began his head coaching career. Scot Loeffler is 7-22 in his first three seasons as Bowling Green’s head coach, putting him on the hot seat going into this season.

Meyer told Dave Briggs of the Toledo Blade, however, that he does not anticipate returning to Bowling Green, even though he still has reverence for the school.

“Wow. What a question,” Meyer texted. “I do love BG. However, I could not see that happening. We are enjoying our lives and kids/grandkids.”

Since Meyer has already retired from coaching twice only to return to the sidelines, that comment is unlikely to stop future speculation about him coming back to college football. At least for now, though, Bowling Green fans hoping to see Meyer return to Northwest Ohio shouldn’t hold their breath.

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