Opinion | NCAA Football video games can still make a comeback

Two DI staffers advocate for the revival of the NCAA Football video game franchise.


Austin Hanson/Contributed

Austin Hanson and Isaac Goffin

On April 30, the NCAA announced that new legislation on name, image, and likeness compensation for collegiate athletes was on the way. With the announcement came a glimmer of hope for starved fans of the NCAA Football video game franchise.

Unfortunately, renewed optimism regarding the game’s return was quickly squashed. The NCAA explicitly stated that new NIL legislation would not result in the revival of the NCAA Football video game.

Bringing the game back would require a group licensing deal, much like that of Electronic Arts Sports’ Madden NFL video games. New name, image, and likeness rules do not permit a group licensing deal facilitated by the NCAA. However, new NIL legislation would not bar conferences from negotiating group licensing deals for video games.

If EA could negotiate a licensing deal with each conference, the NCAA Football video games could come back. The crowd demanding the franchise’s return from its six-year hiatus is large enough to ensure that conferences, universities, and athletes all get enough money to be happy.

Even if EA can’t broker a licensing deal with each of college football’s power five conferences, the interest in a game with three out of five power conferences would be exponential. NCAA Football fans would gladly purchase a “Big Ten & SEC Football ‘21” video game.

Without a licensing deal, the game could still return. Rather than negotiating with players on name, image, and likeness, EA could negotiate a deal with universities for the use of the school’s name, logo, and uniforms. From there, EA could generate randomized names and characters for each team, thus circumventing the need to compensate any athletes for their name, image, and likeness.

While video game fans will certainly miss playing as their favorite athletes, they will be glad to play as their favorite school once again.

– Austin Hanson

Isaac Goffin/Contributed

When my brother and I got a PS3 on Sept. 2, 2011, I had a choice of buying NCAA Football 12 or Madden NFL 12.

I chose NCAA Football, and it was a great decision.

The fun starts in NCAA Football when you recognize all the different uniform combinations a team can have. I spend minutes each time I play the game figuring out what uniform combinations I want.

Then, the game starts, and you hear Brad Nessler and Kirk Herbstreit call the game with ESPN graphics. It feels like a Saturday in the fall every single time.

Gameplay is spectacular. Unlike Madden where the playbook is dull, the over 100 teams in NCAA Football offer an assortment of plays to fit anyone’s style of football.

The modes make this game even more special.

Road to Glory allowed me to create an athlete and play for my high school football team and Power 5 schools. The Heisman Challenge, which allows you to put a former Heisman winner on any team, is amazing. I loved making Tim Tebow a Hawkeye.

The Dynasty mode is synonymous with the franchise. Recruiting is so much better than free agency and building your program up into a powerhouse isn’t like anything else.

I know the politics and business of the situation is complicated, but if one day EA can bring the game back, they better do it.

– Isaac Goffin

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.

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