With every small step forward in college athletes' rights, we get closer to the potential return of EA Sports' NCAA Football video game series. Right or wrong, for many fans, that is one of the biggest issues on the table.
The NCAA has already started the process towards some sort of model for player compensation. Details are still very scarce, and we're a few years away from change coming.
We are supposed to have new rules established "no later than 2021," so the turnaround might not take that long. When it does, NCAA Football could return to shelves.
NCAA president Mark Emmert was asked about the game series specifically today, during a panel hosted by The Aspen Institute for sports. He laid out three key issues surrounding the relaunch of the series, per Jane McManus.
- Emmert doesn't want any more lawsuits, like the Ed O'Bannon case that is largely responsible for this push in the first place.
- He wants a group license for the athletes depicted in the game. This is a pretty obvious one, and is probably the only way this would happen.
- Emmert doesn't want this to lead to a player union. We saw this issue come up a few years ago, when Northwestern players began to make noise about a potential player union. While it remains a relevant issue, it is unclear that the video game series would be the thing that necessitates a union.
Ultimately, it seems likely that we will see NCAA Football relaunched at some point, but we'll probably need to see what new rules are set to come in place in 2021 first, so diehard fans of the series may need to wait a few more years for the follow-up to NCAA Football 2014.