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Recent Steps Taken By The NCAA Could Lead To A College Football Video Game

A college football video game could be making a return if recent positive steps taken by the NCAA continue. The NCAA is exploring modifying its rules so that student athletes could be compensated for their names, images, and likeness. This news means NCAA football (and potentially other sports) video games could be back.


The NCAA has made it clear this is separate from the players being paid directly by schools to participate in collegiate athletics. But allowing players to use their own likeness—which is currently signed over to the NCAA—could open the door for the players being included and paid to appear in a college football video game.


Currently, college athletes cannot profit off their own names, images, and likeness, while other non-college students can. For example, a student musician can make money off his or her likeness, but a student athlete cannot. Things like autograph signings in exchange for money is not allowed under NCAA rules, but it stretches further than that, basically not allowing student athletes to profit off anything that has to do with themselves—UCF kicker De LA Haye had to give up his scholarship because he was not allowed to profit off a YouTube channel he built himself.


Let’s not get too far ahead on this, though. For an NCAA video game to happen, a few things would have to occur.


A company must create the game: EA most recently created the college football video game, NCAA Football, and they figure to be the favorite to pick the series back up. Most fans enjoyed the game, many more so than Madden, and the infrastructure and history is probably there to get a game up and running. But 2K Sports should not be counted out, especially because they are locked out of making an NFL video game because of EA’s exclusive license.


Two partnerships must be struck: The overwhelming feeling seems to be that college football players want to have an NCAA football video game, so that shouldn’t be too difficult. But an NCAA video game would need NCAA programs, i.e. the logos, mascots, uniforms, and stadiums to complement the players in the game.


Compensation must be decided for the players: While it might not be difficult to get college football players on board, compensation must be decided. Ideally, it’d be easy for all Division I college football players to get the same amount of compensation, but big-time players would have the power to hold out for more money in exchange for use of their likeness.


Allowing student athletes to profit off themselves would not only potentially be great for consumers hoping for an NCAA football game, but it’s the right thing to do. It’s un-American to not allow people to profit off their own likeness, which the NCAA currently restricts for its student athletes.


The working group looking through this possibility is scheduled to issue a final report to the NCAA in October, so perhaps an NCAA football video game could return for some time in 2020—potentially for the new next-gen console releases expected late that year.

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