College football fans everywhere could be on the verge of throwing a huge celebration. With the NCAA already taking the right steps to examine name, image and likeness of its student-athletes, the return of EA Sports’ NCAA Football video game is suddenly a possibility.
The last edition of this NCAA video game came out in 2013. The reason for it coming to an end is due to “the current business climate and costs of litigation,” which resulted in lawsuits revolving around athletes likeness.
While any revival of the game seemed like a long shot years ago, it turns out the NCAA does not have to implement any new rules for schools to offer cash unrelated to school expenses.
NCAA President Mark Emmert and lawyer Leonard Aragon are clearly on board with the current direction of college sports.
From USA Today:
“We’re at a place right now where I strongly believe that we need to be more pro-active in looking at and exploring what could or couldn’t occur” regarding athletes’ names, images and likenesses (NILs).
Aragon said: “I’d love to see the game come back. The (players) loved it. Colleges have video game leagues now. If it came back, I would go buy stock in EA. Seriously.”
The NCAA might have concerns with connecting video-game payments to its student-athletes, but it could help schools generate buzz around their programs.
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) May 17, 2019
Another factor to consider is whether or not players would receive the same benefits, or if it would depend on their popularity and school they play for.
USA TODAY had some more details:
And if the NCAA is concerned about connecting video-game payments to education, Aragon suggested, they could be conditioned on academic requirements. (Indeed, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, in a ruling that has been appealed to the 9th Circuit, has said the NCAA’s rules cannot “limit compensation or benefits related to education.”)
Yes, this might turn out to benefit football players only. But if there’s a market for a men’s and/or women’s basketball game or for a game in another sport, someone will find it. EA Sports’ Linzner testified during the O’Bannon trial, the football game was “a significant enough business that” EA “would be very interested in re-entering that market with the rights of the universities and conferences as well as the athletes.”