The latest reports that the NCAA will enable student-athletes to profit from names, image, and likeness (NIL) has renewed a major debate: Will we get another NCAA Football video game?
After all, one of the main reasons that the popular EA franchise was shelved in the first place was then-impending lawsuits over the use of player likenesses without compensation. Those lawsuits culminated in EA paying out millions in settlements.
Now that the NCAA is set to overhaul its NIL rules, EA can certainly resume the series, right? Unfortunately, based on what the experts are saying, that may not be the case.
According to Big East commissioner Val Ackerman, the group licensing concept that would enable a game is “unworkable in college sports.” Apparently, there’s no player’s union to negotiate compensation in the first place. From USA Today‘s Dan Wolken:
Val Ackerman said the group licensing concept that would allow for the video game is "unworkable in college sports" because there's no player's union to negotiate it.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) April 29, 2020
Late last year, NCAA President Mark Emmert made it clear that they would not license a game that did not have a group licensing concept. But of course, he also doesn’t want a player’s union to spring up either.
That said, the idea isn’t completely dead and buried. EA or whichever company does license the video game stands to make a fortune from a revived franchise. Players stand to make a potentially tidy sum too.
According to reports, the working group is looking into the aforementioned legal hurdles. The issue might be revisited in 2021 or later.
Doesn't look like the NCAA's move to allow student-atheltes to profit off their name, image and likeness will bring back NCAA Football right away pic.twitter.com/JKj4jvo5Oo
— Chris Hummer (@chris_hummer) April 29, 2020
All in all, it doesn’t look like NCAA Football 21 is going to be a reality.
But in fairness, it’s a bad idea to let EA or “triple-A” gaming publishers have the license. It would be a shell of its former self, with half of the content you knew and loved stripped away or offered as expensive DLC.
Maybe dream of the NCAA Football series is better than the reality.