AP reported today that the NCAA have voted in favor of allowing student athletes to profit their names, images and likenesses (NIL). This only means one thing for gaming fans: NCAA Football should be coming back.
A month ago, California Senate passed and signed a bill, Senate Bill 206, which would allow student athletes in California to profit from their NIL, which was met with enthusiasm from everyone but the NCAA.
Well, today they voted unanimously to allow all three divisions of the NCAA to start working on rules that would maintain a distinction between professional and college sports but afford athletes the same opportunities to make money as other students, to roll out by January 2021.
This is a huge moment in college sports’ history and paves the way for one of the most beloved sports gaming franchises, NCAA Football (and basketball, for what it’s worth).
What happened to the game?
NCAA Football 14 was famously the final installment of the franchise after many former NCAA players sued EA because they were not compensated for the use of their likeness in the franchise. They won and it marked the end of the game.
Now that players are able to profit from their NIL, EA Sports – or any developer – have the green light to start making a college sports game the same way they would for the NFL, NBA, or any major sporting league.
Best of all, the players can finally be fairly compensated for their part in the process and the game’s players can actually use accurate versions of their favorite college football stars.
What will the game look like?
We can only speculate. There has been no formal announcement from EA Sports or any other developer regarding a collegiate sport game, but there have been indicators one would come given the opportunity.
EA CEO Andrew Wilson said they would ‘jump for the opportunity’ to make another college sport title following the signing of California SB 206 ‘Fair Pay to Play Act’.
Now the door is wide open, so in July/August will we see NCAA Football 20? Though I wish I could say yes, I can’t imagine we will.
When is the game coming?
The new NCAA rules will not take effect until 2021, and EA probably do not have the time and licenses to make a good game for release in summer 2020 even if they were allowed.
However, what it does mean is we could see the return of the franchise for the 2021 season.
By then, not only will EA have a full green light – hopefully – they will also be making the game for next gen consoles.
If that is the case, you can count me as unbelievably excited, and you all should be too.