Four years later and NCAA Football is no closer to a return

Posted July 11th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Shortly after release of NCAA Football 14 publisher EA Sports declared that the NCAA would be pulling their license (which only would have affected the name and official marks from appearing) and that the series would continue into the PS4 and Xbox One generation. That of course never materialized as the O’Bannon vs NCAA case had begun to scare away other partners as well, including conferences and individual schools which proved to be the tipping point.

Less than two months from that initial assurance that the series was not going away NCAA Football was cancelled for good. Sadly four years later, and on the very day that NCAA Football 18 would have released, we’re not much closer to seeing it return.

The ruling in the O’Bannon case actually provided hope that a system would be put into place that would allow for collegiate athletes to be paid for their likenesses. Judge Claudia Wilken’s original ruling stated that the NCAA violated antitrust laws and that athletes should receive compensation beyond just educational-related expenses. That amount would be capped at no less than $5,000 a year and would be put into a trust that would be received after completing eligibility. When the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals partially reversed Judge Wilken’s decision however, doing so meant there was still no way to compensate players.

The case was then turned down for a hearing by the Supreme Court meaning the 9th’s reversal on the compensation aspect would stand. Athletes still have no way to collect pay for their likenesses in video games, merchandising, and so on. The necessary resolution that could have brought everyone but maybe the NCAA back on board was not achieved.

While waiting for other lawsuits to potentially move through the court system that could change the landscape of college sports, the best gamers can look for is pro games that attempt to integrate college such as NBA 2K the last two years using them in the story mode. Any return of dedicated licensed college sports video games remains years off in the future.

  • Kevin C

    And IF it does return, the first version will be a skeleton of what NCAA 14 offers: fixed, hardly editable rosters, maybe 20 stadiums and a bunch of generics, a watered down Dynasty Mode, etc. After a few more years we might get something close to where we left off in terms of depth and replay value. So even IF the announcement comes, temper your expectations.

    • MoneyMayweather

      dude I’m guessing you’ll be in your 30s and me in my 50s when were even close to having an NCAA game but by then we would need new consoles

  • Players who had appeared in past editions of NCAA Football or certain March Madness/NCAA Basketball games that staked their claim as part of the class did get paid. I believe the average was something around $1500.

    • ClubSteve

      that’s it? was that really worth scrapping the game for? i mean, i see what they were trying to do, but it backfired….

    • MoneyMayweather

      so you fuck over millions of gamers for a 1.5k payout? HAHAHAHAH what a joke. I’d give them 1500k to their paypal account if the had just kept their mouth shut. and I’m pretty sure they could have just raised the money by you know working. instead of ruining millions of gamers hobby. over a damn video game.

      • ClubSteve

        and we gamers were the biggest losers out of all of this….i think they were trying to prove a point to the NCAA but all it really did was shut down our game. just add something like nba 2k my league, expansion and create-a-team options into madden and we’ll do the rest….

      • PureNRK

        You’re misunderstanding the settlement. It was a total of $60 million for EA, and based on the claim rate it’s roughly $1,600 per athlete (there are a number of fees that the settlement pays out, most notably attorneys fees – which were ~$18m).

        Because EA doesn’t want to pay out $60m again (plus its own attorneys fees, which were likely hundreds of thousands given the length and complexity of the case), it cancelled the franchise to avoid getting sued again.

  • WilsonRamos

    Shame madden is not on PC then you could easily create a NCAA mod

  • Rich

    For 1/2 second I was super excited because I read “4 years later and there is a return.” 🙂

  • Keith.

    If my memory serves, one of the conditions of the settlement of the “Madden Monopoly” lawsuit was that EA would not obtain another exclusive license from the NCAA before 2020 (don’t remember the specific year), so if things ever get resolved in the courts, I’d expect 2K to be there with a game.

    • license with NCAA isn’t needed to make a game. All the NCAA gets you is ‘NCAA’ on the box and a few logos.

      • Keith.

        Personally I think 2K would jump all over it, and kill any competing EA game in the process, but guess we’ll have to wait and see.

        • Brad

          Keith do you like 2k or madden better? Just curious. U seems like a straight shooter.

    • jbstoner44

      I hope it’s true.

  • WilsonRamos

    NCAA 13 brings back bad memories of RG3

  • I would like to see EA release a creation mode DLC add-on to Madden. Heck, they could price the thing at $20-30 and they’d easily make money on it. It could essentially be a creative suite that allows for users to create custom teams and leagues with provided templates. It would be like taking Teambuilder to a whole new level. This would honestly open up the game to not only people with the incentive to build NCAA teams/conferences but High School, CFL, Arena League and anything else they can dream up. This would require far less effort and money on EA’s part to implement…

    • ClubSteve

      i’m all for this idea…..just give us the tools, there is no crime in that.

  • The Great Leon

    I have been playing NCAA 14 a lot lately. The NCAA series was the best I wish they put a playoff in before they were executed.

  • WilsonRamos
  • Robert Cowgill

    I guess O’Bannon couldn’t extort enough from the NBA after squandering a free college education..Poor exploited child he must be..How about making NBA players pay back ALL the money wasted on their academic journey?..
    Maybe the universities could then give scholarships to more deserving and worthy prospective students?