New NCAA Football Game Unlikely As NCAA Working Group Deems Group Licenses “Unworkable in College Athletics”

By Kevin Harrish on April 29, 2020 at 10:48 am
There will be no NCAA video game.
EA Sports

Student-athletes may soon be paid for their name, image and likeness, but that alone won't bring back the NCAA Football video game.

Talks of changes to the NCAA's name, image and likeness rules brought renewed hope that we'd soon see a return of the NCAA Football Video game, but it seems that hope was misguided.

Despite the NCAA Board of Governors' support for rule changes that would allow student-athletes to be paid for their name, image and likeness (NIL), a college football video game does not appear to be in the cards anytime soon as an NCAA working group determined that group licenses for video games are “unworkable in college sports.”

“It was the group’s conclusion that group licenses which would combine school trademarks with student-athlete NIL and products like video games, replica jerseys and trading card collections are unworkable in college sports, largely because of the absence of a recognized bargaining agent to manage the terms of group NIL use on behalf of the student-athletes," said Big East commissioner Val Ackerman, co-chair of NCAA's working group for NIL.

The NCAA working group did not recommend any changes to rules that would allow group licenses, citing "legal hurdles"

"At this time, the working group is also not recommending any changes to NCAA rules to permit group licenses of student-athlete NIL in what are characterized as group products (like video games)," stated the NCAA working group's report. "There are legal hurdles to such activity that preclude it as a realistic option for implementation at this time."

However, the working group did recommend that the NCAA continue to explore whether those legal hurdles can be overcome in the future, stating that "further exploration of these concepts will require clarity from Congress of the NCAA's authority to enact rules or maintain oversight in this area."

So hopes of NCAA video game in the future still aren't completely dead, but it won't be happening imminently, and likely won't happen without intervention or clarity from Congress.

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