For those of you like me who grew up playing the best-selling EA Sports game “NCAA Football”, you received a great amount of disappointment last year when it was discovered that the franchise would be forced to discontinue the game. What followed in the upcoming months was a lawsuit between the folks at Electronic Arts and the NCAA. The lawsuit was based around the premise that the college football video game used player likeness and did not have a license or any other authority to do so.
The result, EA Sports ended up paying approximately $60 million dollars in settlements to both the NCAA and other separate lawsuits brought against them. It was publicly announced that although the franchise made a concerted effort to get schools and NCAA to allow use of athlete name and image they were unable to reach an agreement. So, instead EA embedded real roster information and player likeness into their games.
According to SBNation, “In May 2013, a former EA Sports producer admitted under oath that the company replicated real players, and a company executive claimed the NCAA approved matching virtual jersey numbers to real numbers.”
All of these recent issues have brought serious questions of whether there will be another NCAA football game and I am here to tell you that yes…there is hope. EA has already made an effort to compensate NCAA athletes for player likeness and the only thing that is holding up the production of another game is the NCAA. The problem is that right now according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, once a college athlete is compensated they lose their amateurism. However, with the recent pressure on the NCAA to compensate athletes, especially basketball and football players (revenue sports), something might change sooner rather than later.
The most exciting part about a future game are the possibilities for growth. There are rumors that NCAA 15 was going to include a revamped team builder mode along with all new customization features. These features included uniform editing and personalization, stadium modification, and more enhanced recruiting. For me, this is something I have wanted for a very long time. So let’s hope that some sort of deal is struck soon because something just didn’t feel right knowing there wouldn’t be a game coming out this summer.