The NCAA Football video game is officially making its return, this time with a new name — EA Sports College Football.
On Tuesday, EA Sports announced in a tweet that the popular game will be making a comeback, ending an eight-year hiatus. NCAA Football 14 was the most recent edition of the game, released in 2013. The cover featured Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.
Josh An, a senior at USC, said the NCAA Football video game was one of his favorites growing up. “It’s been a while since they’ve released a new edition, and it’s almost like a part of my childhood is coming back.”
One of the most popular games throughout the 2000s, the NCAA Football series came to an abrupt halt in 2013 after former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA for using his likeness from UCLA’s 1995 National Championship basketball team in its video game NCAA Basketball 09. O’Bannon and other athletes filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, Electronic Arts (EA) and Collegiate Licensing Co., alleging unauthorized use of men’s basketball and football athletes’ names, images and likenesses (NIL) without compensation.
Since 2013, the state of California has taken important steps toward allowing players to profit off their NIL. On Sept. 30, 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Play to Pay Act. The act prohibits California colleges from punishing athletes for being compensated for the use of their NIL, such as signing endorsement deals and licensing contracts.
EA Sports teamed up with Collegiate Licensing Company Co. in order to use Division 1-A schools, uniforms, playbooks and more in the new game, which will feature over 100 teams. In response to NIL concerns, the game will not use rosters with the names, images or likenesses of real college players as of now. However, NIL rules are expected to change this year.
On June 15, 2020, athletes filed yet another class action lawsuit against the NCAA, Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and ACC conferences, accusing the organizations of unlawfully prohibiting the athletes from “receiving benefits for the use of their name, image and likeness.” The NCAA Board of Governors instructed the NCAA’s three divisions to have updated NIL rules in place by last month. The NCAA Division I Council had been scheduled to vote on the new rules the week of Jan. 11 but delayed the vote to gather more information.
Although there is no set release date yet for EA Sports College Football’s return, sports figures and fans took to social media yesterday to share their excitement. NFL quarterbacks Kyler Murray, Joe Burrow and Derek Carr all took to Twitter to share their feelings about the news. USC Football’s Twitter also got involved, tweeting out a picture of the NCAA 07 cover, which featured former running back Reggie Bush.
“As a USC student, I’m definitely going to be more invested in how the USC roster looks and am excited to play with them when the game comes out,” An said. “Hopefully, the game will help me still feel connected to USC even after I graduate.”