The paradigm is shifting in college sports, and for the better. On Thursday, the NCAA cleared the way for athletes to profit off of their name, image, and likeness. On top of it being an outstanding day for college athletics, this is incredible news for sports gamers as well. This legislation all but ensures that at some point EA Sports College Football will feature authentic rosters.
Or at the very least, that it can return to the former legal grey area in which it existed previously. As it did in NCAA Football 14, with players that wore the same numbers, and had similar attributes and features to their real-life counterparts.
The NCAA’s decision to suspend penalties for college players making money off things like sponsorships, online endorsements, and personal appearances applies to all three divisions, some 460,000 athletes in total.
EA’s NCAA Football series was canceled after a class action lawsuit filed by former NCAA players against the NCAA and College Licensing Company (CLC) in 2013. It was led by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and former ASU quarterback Sam Keller.
The publishing giant originally set out to release the aforementioned EA Sports College Football in 2015. It was rumored to be a fully customizable experience that would allow players to build and export teams, uniforms, and more. This workaround would’ve allowed the community to recreate existing universities, and keep AAA college football gaming alive.
That said, EA has some time to flesh out the details. Its college football title isn’t scheduled to launch until 2023. Until then we can only hope that the company can return to its original NCAA Football glory.