Let’s start with a bit of history. Anyone who loves college sports was upset in 2013, when EA made the move to discontinue their popular NCAA games. This was due to them settling their lawsuit with former college athletes that wanted payment for their appearances in the games. Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon filed a lawsuit against EA, the NCAA, and the Collegiate Licencing Company, demanding royalties for college athletes who appeared in video games. EA and the Collegiate Licencing Company decided to settle the lawsuit for $60 million in 2014. This lawsuit added a new layer in the debate over whether college athletes should be paid or not.
The NCAA has always been strict on its policy of athletes being considered amateurs, and receiving no payment while they’re students. If a student receives a payment, a gift, or has consulted with a professional agent, they could be ineligible to compete.
All of those rules were challenged when the NCAA decided to embrace change and allow student-athletes to profit off of their name, likeness, and image. The three different divisions in the NCAA still have to make their own rules and carve out specific details, but this means good things for the future of NCAA games.
…and new games
Those rule changes only mean good things for the future of NCAA games. EA has given NCAA Football fans little things to hold on to. In Madden 20, the prologue of your player’s journey to the NFL allows you to choose what college team you wish to play for. Then you get to play a little college football playoff-type of situation. The colleges that you get to choose from are limited, but it’s something.
While EA has yet to comment on if they’re going to start making college sports games again, there will definitely be companies who will, now that the field is finally open again.