EA 'Very Interested' in Reviving NCAA Football Franchise If NLI Rules Change

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2019

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson celebrates his 67-yard touchdown run against Ohio State in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

The NCAA Football video game series by EA Sports was beloved by fans before its last release in 2013, and the company would be interested in bringing the franchise back at some point in the future.

"We loved making college football games," NCAA Football executive producer Ben Haumiller, who now works as a producer on EA's Madden NFL franchise, told Chris Hummer of 247Sports in an email Friday. "If the opportunity ever presented itself we'd be very interested in potentially getting back into that space."

The franchise folded after EA Sports lost several lawsuits, including from former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon, for using the likeness of college athletes without their permission and without compensating them.

The NCAA's rules prohibit student-athletes' from making money from their name, image and likeness (NLI), meaning they were unable to receive money from EA for their appearances in the games.

However, according to ESPN.com on Wednesday, "The NCAA is forming a working group to consider how its rules can be modified to allow college athletes to be compensated for use of their names, images and likenesses." If those rules were changed, EA Sports would have an avenue back to making its famous football series.

"I'd definitely like to see it come back," former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson told Hummer. "If they were to do a pool and asked kids if they want to be on NCAA football and if they want to bring NCAA back, a lot of kids would say yes although they wouldn't get paid."

Soon, however, they just might.

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