Get it right – bring back the NCAA Football video game series

After discontinuing the making of the NCAA Football series after the release of NCAA Football 14, sophomore Gabe Swartz tell you how we can bring back the series.


Gabe Swartz, Staff Writer

Three years ago I lost something that meant a lot to me. EA Sports NCAA Football video game series was abruptly ended after former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA. In the lawsuit, O’Bannon claimed the video game took advantage of players’ likenesses (or resemblances) by creating players with identical heights, weights and numbers as the players in real life. While no one would argue with the fact that players’ likenesses were exploited, it shouldn’t stand in the way of the series being continued. Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy tweeted the check he received as compensation for the use of his likeness, stating that he would gladly return his check if the game would be brought back. There are multiple solutions to figure out this problem, many of which are easy fixes. With that, here are the three ways to bring back the NCAA Football video game series.

Solution 1:  Make the game with randomized player names and overalls.

  • This is arguably the easiest fix. Make the game minus having exact player likenesses, which is what got them in trouble in the first place, because let’s be honest, everyone who played NCAA Football 14 knew that QB # 2 for Texas A&M was Johnny Manziel. The biggest issue with this solution is taking away the accuracy of team’s overalls and creating results that were far from realistic. While that might disgruntle some gamers, bringing the game back would be enough to overtake that unhappiness.

Solution 2: Allow players to capitalize off their likenesses and sign autographs for money or be paid for their play, while bringing back the game with exact player models, overalls and attributes.

With the amount of time these football players spend on a weekly basis practicing and watching film, these players are essentially bona-fide employees, without the pay to show for it. Iff the players are paid a small amount of money, making them semi-professional would justify the use of their names in the game, just like the Madden series.

First of all, the belief that paying players for play in college would corrupt the system and lead all top recruits to go to all of the power-conference school is incorrect. The 5-star recruits already go to the best schools right now, even without pay for play. Allowing pay for play would not change the balance of power – players would still value playing time and campus-environment as well as how much they could potentially be paid for their services.

This proposal is much more advanced and would require a lot of progress from the NCAA and schools to allow sanctioned autograph signings – where players could sign autographs for money as long as the money they received was recorded for the universities to know – which would take away any feelings of players being taken advantage of. This scenario would create the ideal game with exact player models similar to the Madden video game series also created by EA Sports allowing the game to have more accurate play based on real-life skills for the teams.

Solution 3: Get permission from schools to use their logos but don’t use players likenesses.

We saw this scenario in NBA 2k16 through the MyCareer game mode, which allowed players to choose between eight exclusive colleges including the likes of Kansas, Villanova and Arizona. This was allowable because of each individual school’s agreement with 2k to be included in the game. If EA Sports made the same agreement, they could create the game without the NCAA’s approval, although the product would be less than ideal.

Growing up, Saturday mornings in the fall were spent battling it out on the virtual gridiron against my brothers, a tradition that no longer exists due to the termination of the game. With former players like McElroy and ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit vocalizing their desire for the game to return, it’s clear many of us have a strong desire for the game to return. No matter what happens, it seems as if it will be a long trek to bring back the NCAA Football video game series. We can only hope the NCAA and EA Sports does the right thing and brings back a game that so many of us loved.