Baylor University says it demanded no extra money from EA Sports for the use of its fight song in NCAA Football 13 and no one in the university's administration had anything to do with the song's exclusion in this year's version of the game, which released last week with its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback starring on the cover.
In fact, said Nicholas A. Joos, the Baylor University executive associate athletic director for external affairs, Baylor itself was completely blindsided by news, published yesterday in Kotaku, that Robert Griffin III and the Bears did not take the field to "Old Fite" in pregame cinematics, as the virtual team had last year.
It was especially puzzling, Joos said, considering the university went all out to host a cover photo session on campus with Griffin, attended by hundreds of fans excited at the college's star turn on the cover of a major video game.
"We had no conversation with anybody at EA Sports about the fight song," Joos told Kotaku. "Nobody called and asked 'Can it be in the game this year, do you want it in the game this year,' and if they had, obviously we would have said yes."
Kotaku made EA Sports representatives for NCAA Football 13 aware of Joos' comments but did not receive a response at publication time.
How a major university can be unaware of what a major video game publisher is or isn't doing with its own fight song isn't as bewildering as it sounds. Sometimes the rights to songs are in fact privately owned. In other cases, universities contract out the licensing of their symbols and themes to another authority. Typically, a deal with the Collegiate Licensing Company — of which EA Sports is an official licensee — would get a publisher everything associated with that school. There are exceptions, however.
Asked if his university controls the copyright to "Old Fite," Joos replied that while he believed so, he was reaching out to other Baylor officials to confirm that, or to confirm who acts on the university's behalf in such negotiations.
Baylor is one of a number of schools whose fight songs appeared in NCAA Football 12 but not in NCAA Football 13. Intriguingly, many are from Texas or the immediate region, including Saturday staples like "Texas Fight" and the Aggie War Hymn. EA Sports will not confirm exactly which schools were affected or why, beyond confirming that it could not obtain the licence to these songs for this edition of the game.
Kotaku will update this story as more details surface.