Nearly six years have passed since the release of the final installment in EA’s long-running college football video game series. NCAA Football 2014 marked the final hurrah for a sports game dynasty and left thousands of fans to wither in a now-dead console generation. While a dispute over compensation due to collegiate athletes led to the NCAA decision to discontinue licensing deals with EA, recent developments indicate that the much-loved series may still have a heartbeat. It was announced yesterday that the NCAA has formed a working group to address recent legislation proposed at the federal and state levels surrounding the name, image and likeness rights of student-athletes.
The original problems with the NCAA raking in cash from licensing out merchandise of student athletes began in 2009 when former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon filed an antitrust class action lawsuit against the non-profit regulatory body. The trial for O’Bannon v. NCAA concluded in 2014 when a judge ruled that the NCAA’s practice of banning athletes from being paid violated antitrust laws. Both EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company were originally co-defendants with the NCAA, though each left the case prior to its conclusion as part of a $40 million settlement that was to be paid out to then-current and former collegiate athletes who had their likeness appear in an EA Sports football or basketball game going back to 2003.
On the heels of the judgement in the O’Bannon case, all of EA’s NCAA games had been trapped in limbo indefinitely. With Tuesday’s announcement that the NCAA was at least considering opening the can of worms that is collegiate player licensing compensation, cyber football fans felt a ray of hope for the first time in years. Former Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback and college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit expressed hope on Twitter that the NCAA Football series would return. He tagged Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith, a member of the new NCAA working group, in his tweet.
So @OSU_AD if all goes well is there a chance we get our NCAA Football video game back?!? Just asking for a few 100k friends that have missed the game desperately for 5 years—including former and current players. Haha!! Be a hero! https://t.co/TE988flpax— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) May 14, 2019
Would you be excited to see collegiate sports video games make a return? Let us know in the comments below.
Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Could NCAA Football games be returning?
Don't be playin with my emotions, Smokey!