One of the stranger sports stories I’ve reported came last year when NCAA Football 13 featured Baylor University’s Heisman-winning quarterback on its cover, but not the school’s fight song in the game. It was one of several songs held by a firm trying to fend off bankruptcy by jacking up the cost to use them.
Well, that holdings company still ended up going clank, and all the songs it managed were sold off. So “Texas Fight,” is back in NCAA Football 14. You’ll hear it after you score a touchdown with the Longhorns. EA Sports reached an agreement with all the songs’ new owners, except for one.
University fight songs are sometimes privately composed and owned and are not necessarily the property of the university that plays them, even if they do so with permission. (“Rocky Top” at Tennessee is a very prominent example.) “Old Fite,” Baylor’s song, was one of several owned by a private firm, along with a bunch of other fight songs from the old Southwest Conference — Arkansas, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas among them. None of those schools had their fight songs in NCAA Football 13. Their owner tripled its asking price on these songs in 2012 and EA Sports balked.
Well, with SMG no longer in the picture, the rights to the songs went up for sale. I have been told that Texas A&M briefly had the idea of buying the rights to “Texas Fight”, the song of its hated nemesis, and then forbidding anyone from using it. But then, those clever Aggie SOBs also once sued for the Texas playbook under the state’s Freedom of Information Act, and this plan likewise went nowhere.
Baylor’s issue was a little different. They were still in the process of buying back ownership of “Old Fite” as NCAA Football 14 was finalising its music assets. With no one to negotiate with, EA Sports had no way of securing the song’s rights for use. So after a Bears touchdown you’ll still hear one of the game’s generic fight songs, which were performed by a Russian military band nearly a decade ago.