2K Sports has the license for some colleges that may appear in NBA 2K16

Posted July 16th, 2015 at 2:45 pm


Earlier this week we learned, among the other leaked features for NBA 2K16, that college ball will be playing some role in the new MyCareer story mode. Announcing where you’ll play your college ball at and declaring for the NBA Draft are two of the big moments early on in the career of “Frequency Vibrations”.

Obviously the college aspect is not going to be a fully blown out College Hoops 2K experience. There aren’t going to be real players or representations based on them, there aren’t going to be all the schools, things like authentic arenas, or the NCAA’s involvement in any manner of fashion. But could there be some actual licensed universities involved, and will it be something that is playable within the mode? It’s beginning to look like that may be the case. 

A sleuth over on the Operation Sports forums discovered that 2K Sports currently has the license for 11 schools for use in video games through the Collegiate Licensing Company. Those are Arizona, Arizona State, Georgetown, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Texas, UCLA, UConn, Villanova, and Wisconsin. There may be at least one more to the group however.

You’ll notice on the various covers for NBA 2K16 that the players are featured in different images, one of which includes them in their college gear. James Harden and Arizona State is one, matching up with their licensed status. Stephen Curry (Davidson) and Anthony Davis (Kentucky) are the two others.

It’s possible those two schools will be included as well, though Kentucky is questionable as Davis isn’t in uniform, and the Kentucky logo may have been wiped from the shirt he’s wearing along with the NCAA National Champions text. Here’s the original image to compare. There’s just no way to confirm them for sure at this point in time, as both Davidson and Kentucky do their own licensing, as opposed to the many others that are handled by the CLC.


Interestingly you’ll see on the cover of the 2K16 special edition, which features Michael Jordan on the cover, that “North Carolina” has been removed from the jersey in his image. North Carolina is not one of the teams that has been licensed by 2K according to the CLC’s client website.

So assuming these institutions have in fact had their licenses secured for the purposes of the MyCareer Mode in NBA 2K16, which the evidence seems to support, how might they be utilized in the game?

A good guess would be in a tournament structure, in which you’d only have to go up against the other licensed teams, rather than having to ever take on fake teams. Going all the way to win the title would require only six games, so 10+ teams easily covers that. It could be similar to how you’d start in the high school playoffs with the NCAA Football franchise, where everything was generic with the exception of the state title game that was played in a college stadium, but here you’d at least have some real team branding with their logos and uniforms.

Regardless of how they’re used, it’s exciting to see any semblance of college basketball making its way back into sports gaming. The return of full-fledged college football or basketball games are still a few years away from being realistically possible, so this may be the closest thing to a college experience until that time finally comes.

  • MoneyMayweather

    this is just unfair I need that college hoops 2k16 and NCAA football 16 and I can die a happy man.

    • Rich Homie

      in every 2k there is a roster download and people have made college rosters.

      • pretty flacko

        Bruh we want the real thing, not the rosters with fake symbols,but the dudes who made those rosters have my regards

  • GaSouthernEagles06

    Hey Pasta, I have a quick question. Obviously these college teams that we will most likely be able to play on will have generic rosters. I know this has been discussed before, but it seemed that the main reason colleges pulled out of the NCAA football series was due to the O’Bannon case, which was of course D1 players suing over their schools commercial use of them with no compensation. Anyways, the fact that 2k has gotten at least 10 schools licenses had me thinking, could EA get the licenses for all 128 FBS teams if they agreed to give every single team the exact same generic roster, making sure there was no likeness in any way, which would in turn allow the user to customize the roster? (or of course download others). Personally, I don’t see the liability for the schools in that scenario. Thoughts?

    • My understanding is the settlement may have included terms that prohibited EA from allowing users to share rosters, had they continued making a game. If that’s the case, which I think EA would likely pull it even if they weren’t required to do so, it’s hard to see them making a completely generic (players) game.

      • Dounte

        And this is where 2K excels…… Key word ” generic ” lol! I do give them credit for attempting to give the college thing another shot where everyone else has given up on it forcefully.

  • Keith.

    Nice timing for this leak to get us excited for the next release, as I saw that NBA 2K15 was ranked # 9 on the new NPD sales chart that was released today, which makes it 9 straight months (Oct. 2014-June 2015) that NBA 2K15 has appeared in the NPD monthly Top 10.


    9 straight months in the NPD Top 10. For a basketball game. That’s just crazy. How does 2K do it? Consistently raising the bar, with a quality effort, year after year after year. Glad to see ’em rewarded with the remarkable sales numbers, again.

    • alex

      also because the nba season is 9 months long.

      • Keith.

        So? NBA Live covers the same NBA season and doesn’t chart for even one month on NPD.

        • bltzkrieg666

          WOW Kodosky, and that fact doesn’t dappen my enjoyment of Live 15 one bit. IMAGINE THAT.

      • Keith.

        And for the record, NBA 2K15 is currently the 3rd best selling XBone game on amazon.com, and the 5th best selling game on PS4. Even though the NBA season has been over for a month. You can bet 2K15 will be on next month’s NPD chart, too, for a 10th straight month.


        • I think it bumped up on Amazon’s charts because of the Prime Day sale that had it for $20/$25.

          • Keith.

            The only games I saw advertised during Amazon’s Prime Day were Battlefield Hardline and Evolve — maybe I missed it.

            Regardless, Amazon’s Best Sellers page says that it’s “updated hourly,” and NBA 2K15 for both XBone and PS4 are showing green “up” arrows, which I wouldn’t expect if the big sales of the game were on Wednesday.

          • Yeah it was one of them, just not really a great deal. Especially since a while back there was the promo to get it for $11. I’m not even sure it ever even reached 100% claimed.

    • bltzkrieg666

      There is no accounting for stupidity nor bad taste Kodosky. Perhaps you should take your useless research over to the 2k Facebook page and factor in the significant number of dissatisfied customers.

  • BravesFan24

    This is great news. Looking forward to 2K16.

    • MoneyMayweather

      you and me both brother.

  • MoneyMayweather

    Pasta what do you think of the 60 million lawsuit to ea sports from College players? looks like thats the nail pretty much in the coffin. for college video games for a while maybe five years tops. Also I think that college sports had a great run for between 1995-2013

    • I think you’re mistaking what’s happening. The news you’re reading about now is just the payout going to the players, from the settlement that EA and CLC came to a couple years ago. There’s nothing really new there.

  • majesty95

    That’s pretty cool if they actually use college teams and uniforms in the game. That’s the kind of innovative things we need. Imagine Madden typing that in in some way as well….

  • Flu-Like Symptoms

    Awesome news! And bring back College Hoops, 2K!

  • Brian

    The only thing good with this game anymore is the story mode. Maybe EA should take note and just implement a story career mode in Madden. I played this game last night to get ready for the basketball season, and all the anger I had playing it the first go around came rushing back. The AI doesn’t run any offensive sets. I played against the Hawks and here’s what their offense consisted of; Kyle Korver launching elbow threes any moment the opportunity presented itself- seconds into getting into the half court even, Teague fumbling around trying to drive with animations that made him look like he was carrying/traveling, post-ups on the low block by Milsap, and then put-backs. If I get beat, I want to be beat cause my team isn’t the best on the court. Not because my AI defenders refuse to guard Kyle Korver, my bigs refuse to attempt at the defensive glass, and wonky ball physics at points in the game when we’re up. I’m sorry, but this game is nothing like it’s been hyped up to be. I’m to the point where the halcyon of 2K11 and 12 are distant memories. I’ll rent Live this year, and if even remotely looks like simulation basketball I’m buying it. 2K is a store model it just looks good, but there is nothing to this hollowed out game. Sure you can play sim, and they can post all these videos about the human running sets. But when AI refuses what’s the point. I’ll stick to The Show.

  • flossbee

    I applaud 2K for taking some baby steps in the direction. If this is seen as a success the list of licensed schools will surely grow from year to year right? The NCAA and it’s universities are collectively money hungry institutions anyway. They have to be scratching their heads and trying to figure out another “legal” loophole throughout this process to generate additional revenue. A dedicated NCAA video game experience may not be on the horizon for a while but stranger things have happened.