After talks of a possible revival of officially licensed NCAA Football games picked up steam in the fall of 2019, it appears those hopes have once again been dashed by the NCAA.

Despite the governing body working to allow student-athletes to begin profiting off their names, images, and likenesses (NIL) starting as early as January 2021, the latest proposal wouldn’t allow the athletes to reference trademarks or any other form of intellectual property (IP) that belongs to the school they attend in any sort of endorsement.

In shorter terms, it would prevent any game developer, EA Sports or otherwise, from producing an officially licensed college football game.

Big East commissioner Val Ackerman, who also happens to be a leading member of the NCAA working group that proposed the new NIL rules, said that group licensing isn’t a viable option.

“It was the group’s conclusion that group licenses, which would combine school trademarks with student-athlete NIL in products like video games, replica jerseys, and trading card collections are unworkable in college sports,” she said.

In the NCAA working group’s announcement, it was mentioned that the committee looked at group licensing programs that currently exist in various professional sports leagues as well as the Olympics. In each program researched, it was noted that what those deals included isn’t available to the NCAA or the universities: a union to collectively bargain on behalf of the student-athletes.

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“The absence of similar legal structures in intercollegiate athletics greatly complicates the NCAA’s ability to pursue a group licensing approach similar to the models used in the professional context,” the group’s announcement said.

There is a slight flicker of hope, however, as the working group is recommending that the NCAA look to see if issues surrounding possible group licensing can be revisited and legally settled either in 2021 or a later year.

How did we get here?

The thought of the return of NCAA Football didn’t just come out of nowhere. Instead, it’s been a lengthy process to even get close to the idea.

After two lengthy legal disputes surrounding the idea of NIL as well as mounting pressure from various state governments, the NCAA finally announced last year that it would allow students to profit.

At that time,

 

According to NCAA President Mark Emmert, the new rules were going to “create a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes”.

That path, however, likely won’t include video games any time soon.


What are your thoughts on the latest blow dealt to the potential return of NCAA Football? Let us know in the comment section below, and stick with Sports Gamers Online for more on the future of college video games.