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Could new NCAA rule lead to relaunch of college football video game?

Posted at 8:40 PM, Oct 29, 2019

On Tuesday, the NCAA announced that student athletes could be allowed to profit off their likeness and will no longer be bound by strict NCAA amateurism sanctions, which could open the door to the relaunch of a classic video game.

EA Sports last released a college football video game in 2013. The game, which did not identify players by name, used players' attributes such as height, race, skin tone, hair and jersey number to identify player. The video game, which brought in significant revenue for both NCAA institutions and EA Sports, did not result in players getting paid.

This was not an issue until after the 2013 game was released when Ed O'Bannon, a former UCLA basketball player, won a lawsuit against the NCAA in August 2014. A settlement stipulated that players who would go onto appear in video games could be paid via a trust after graduation. Rather than pay players for their likeness appearing in video games, the NCAA ended its relationship with EA Sports.

But with Tuesday's announcement, questions instantly arose on whether the NCAA would reenter with its partnership with EA Sports, or with other video game makers. A request for comment was left for EA Sports prior to publication of this story.

Although many advocates for student athletes applauded the decision, some said the decision did not go far enough. Among them, ESPN commentator and former Duke basketball player Jay Bilas.

"From the NCAA Board of Governors (what it’s REALLY saying): We shall strive to allow athletes the right to name image and likeness opportunities, but only in a manner that does not allow them to monetize their name image and likeness opportunities," Bilas tweeted.

The prospect of a the rebirth of college football video games excited some fans on Tuesday, with some even creating hypothetical covers for an update game.

Which "NCAA Football 20" limited edition cover are you most excited about? 😎

— Kyle Umlang (@kyleumlang) October 29, 2019