Wednesday morning the NCAA announced that they're moving towards changing their policy on student-athletes receiving endorsements as soon as the 2021-2022 academic school year.
"While student-athletes would be permitted to identify themselves by sport and school, the use of conference and school logos, trademarks or other involvement would not be allowed," said the NCAA. "The board emphasized that at no point should a university or college pay student-athletes for name, image and likeness activities."
By consequence of student-athletes gaining the ability to be paid for their likeness, many were excited for the return of the popular EA Sports franchise NCAA Football. Last released in 2013, a used copy NCAA Football 14 for the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 still gets sold online for over $50 regularly. With the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X scheduled for release at the end of 2020, the NCAA Football franchise will have skipped an entire console generation.
But will it return? Most likely not.
Due to the NCAA not allowing the use of conference and school logos or trademarks to be associated with the student-athletes, EA Sports will still not be allowed to produce a new installment in the popular sports franchise with any current players' likeness. In past installments, they didn't use their names but rather their numbers, but even that was ruled in court as using their likeness without permission due to how similar the models were to their real-life counterparts.
In the famous Ed O'Bannon vs the NCAA case, the former UCLA basketball player argued, and the courts agreed, that the NCAA not paying athletes for use of their likeness was a violation of antitrust law. A court filing revealed that EA was willing to pay the players for their likeness to continue producing the video games, but the NCAA refused.
Given the legal precedent and the lack of cooperation from the NCAA, the popular franchise was dead.
While the NCAA's new stance on athletes profiting off their likeness gave hope the games could return, the rules as currently written will prohibit it.
Dan Bernstein of the Sporting News confirms that the NCAA will not allow the games to continue.
The NCAA has confirmed this report, saying endeavors such as video games are "unworkable in college sports." https://t.co/QyrbPhZrfH— Dan Bernstein (@dan_bernstein_) April 29, 2020
EA Sports did have some sort of college football representation, however, in Madden 20, where you could begin your career in "Face of the Franchise: QB1" playing in the College Football Playoff National Championship. The game gave you the option of playing for and against ten teams, including the Oregon Ducks.
Perhaps one day NCAA Football can return, but it doesn't look likely given the NCAA's stance.