Since the last release in 2013, the sports gaming world has been clamoring for a new NCAA Football game.
After the last update on the independent college football game in development from IMV Gaming, it’s been awfully quiet on the NCAA game front. But it looks like we finally have some potential movement towards a resolution on the future of licensed college video games.
According to USA Today, a trial date has been set for December 3, 2018, and will be overseen by U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken. If her name sounds familiar, that’s because she was the same Judge who oversaw the Ed O’Bannon trial that found the NCAA guilty of violating U.S. antitrust laws.
In that trial, Judge Wilken proposed a system that would allow NCAA athletes to get paid via a trust after completing college. However, that was overturned on appeal in the Supreme Court.
This new trial will force the NCAA to defend their restrictions on their athletes being able to only receive scholarships rather than the ability to also make mone of their own names and likenesses.
The plaintiffs in this new case, lead by former athletes Martin Jenkins and Nigel Hayes, are proposing that compensation limits be set by conference as opposed to the entirety of the NCAA. In addition, it has also been requested that athletes be allowed to get any benefits that happen to come in above the cost of school attendance that are linked to the students’ participation in athletics. i.e. jersey sales.
In a quote given to USA Today, Steve Berman, who is one of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs said:
“We’d call this ruling a home run. We couldn’t have plotted it out better for us, frankly. I absolutely think we are going to win this trial.”
The non-jury trial is scheduled to last no more than 10 days this winter in Oakland, CA. Both sides have until the trial date to reach a settlement outside of court.
Now, this likely wouldn’t lead directly to the return of the NCAA Football — or basketball — franchise, but it could definitely open doors for their returns. A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs could allow EA Sports or any other developer for that matter to contact individual conferences and universities about licensing deals. Those deals could then include financial compensation to use the likenesses of the players.
It’s still likely to be five years or more before any final resolution on NCAA video games comes, but the latest development can only be seen as a step forward for a possible return.
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