Baylor University wants answers from a music licensing group it trusted to manage its fight song, which did not end up in a video game whose cover celebrates the school and its first Heisman Trophy winner.
The good news for Baylor Bears fans who bought NCAA Football 13 is that "Old Fite" could be patched back into the game if Baylor's administration gets in touch with this licensing agent and directs it to cooperate with EA Sports.
"We are trying to rectify that and work with EA Sports to get it fixed," said Nicholas Joos, the executive associate athletics director at Baylor for external affairs.
First, it requires finding out if an outfit Joos named as "Southern Music Group" is even in business any more. At some point, this group became the licensing authority for Baylor's song, and considering that old Southwest Conference colleagues like Arkansas (currently in the SEC) and TCU (joining the Big 12 this year) also are involved, that authority could go back decades.
Joos and multiple other sources said they were told Southern Music Group is or was facing financial difficulties, and the licensing fee the company demanded from EA Sports this year for the fight songs it manages was four times higher than the figure paid last year. Joos didn't know what the old licensing fee was or what the new demand came to.
EA Sports has steadfastly refused comment on this matter, saying only that it was unable to secure the license to Baylor's fight song and others, though it has not specified every school or song that is involved.
"I think that group might have tried to up their licensing fee, or whatever they tried to do, and EA Sports said that would set a bad precedent and didn't want to go down that path," Joos said. More than 120 universities appear in NCAA Football 13.
"We would have thought that group would have contacted us first to ask for our feelings on this," Joos said-especially given Baylor's prominent placement through cover star Robert Griffin III, the access it gave EA Sports to the university's visual assets, and the special event it hosted for Griffin's cover shoot.
"We'd just like to talk with somebody at this group and see where the disconnect happened," said Joos.
Asked if that meant Baylor was upset with the licensing company for not contacting the university before making this demand, Joos said, "Yes, absolutely." Joos yesterday said he understood Baylor to be in control of the copyright to "Old Fite," making it fully a client of Southern Music Group.
That means, theoretically, once Baylor's lawyers get all of this sorted out, EA Sports can be approved to use "Old Fite." And "They [EA Sports] told us they have a possible solution, potentially," Joos said. That would be patching the song back into the game through a title update. "They told us they haven't patched the game yet," Joos added.
EA Sports was made aware of these comments and asked for a response. None was given as of publication time.
"We're just shocked," Joos said, that Baylor's fight song would be left out of NCAA 13 for any reason, "especially after having Robert on the cover and having them on campus."