Waiting for NCAA Football Video Comeback? Keep Waiting.


Michael Markoch

UNITED STATES- 2013. That was the last year that the EA Sports franchise released an NCAA Football video game.  Recent events have made the comeback more unlikely than ever and all sports gamers just want answers to the question, why?

The game started receiving backlash back in 2009, when a former UCLA basketball star, Ed O’Bannon, sued the NCAA, EA Sports, and the Collegiate Licensing Committee for using players’ likeness in the media without pay.  

It became a storm the NCAA could not escape, as many other athletes, active and former,  joined the lawsuit to fight for all collegiate student athletes. Basically, the suit claimed that athletes used in the video game should become eligible for financial compensation after graduation for their likeness rights in the game, however, the NCAA has strict rules on paying student athletes due to their “amateur status.”

EA Sports was willing to pay the athletes for use of their likeness, but the NCAA refused.  The game’s factory setup puts no names on the players, their name is their number.  For example, if the quarterback was number two in real life, the quarterback’s name in the game was “#2.”  

However, the height, weight, skin color, and equipment was all taken from the team rosters and some of the visuals were claimed to have been taken from Collegiate Images.  Most users of the game would then customize the rosters to make them more lifelike, usually by adding names of the players.  This however, is not part of the problem.

Sports gamers just want to know if the game will make a return in the future.  Unfortunately, the chances of that happening are slim to none. First, the schools must sign off on doing it and give permission to use their school and athletes in the game.  Then the school’s must decide on how to compensate their players.  

College Football analyst Kirk Herbstreit says an option could be to give the athletes a copy of the game for free as their version of a payment.

Coming out in 2020 will be a different version of NCAA Football called Gridiron Champions.   This game will have generic college teams that are able to be edited by a user to make them more lifelike if they want to waste their time doing that.

As for the future of college football video gaming, it’s a wait and see situation.  It doesn’t look great for the upcoming years as the NCAA figures things out with their “amateur status,” but for now, all sports gamers should just keep waiting.









PC: Safrit, M, Will there ever be another NCAA football video game?