EA Sports Open to Bringing Back NCAA Football Game After 'Fair Pay to Play' Law

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 15:  Electronic Arts Chief Executive Officer Andrew Wilson speaks during the Electronic Arts E3 press conference at the LA Sports Arena on June 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The EA press conference is held in conjunction with the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) which focuses on gaming systems and interactive entertainment, featuring introductions to new products and technologies.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The NCAA Football game got one step closer to a comeback Tuesday with new NCAA regulations that will potentially allow players to make money off their likenesses.

It appears EA Sports is also ready to jump both feet in at reviving the beloved video game series.

"Our position is we would love to build a game. If there’s a world where the folks who govern these things are able to solve for how to pay players for the use of their name and likeness and stats and data, we would jump at the opportunity to build a game in a heartbeat," Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson told Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal last week.

Gay's question came in response to California's Fair Pay to Play Act, which makes it illegal for the NCAA to prevent players from profiting on their name and likeness. Other states have introduced similar legislation, and the snowball effect led to the NCAA changing its policy Tuesday.

“As a national governing body, the NCAA is uniquely positioned to modify its rules to ensure fairness and a level playing field for student-athletes,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. “The board’s action today creates a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes while ensuring they compete against students and not professionals.”

The NCAA Football video game, which used to skirt the college rules by listing the full rosters for NCAA teams but failing to include player names, ceased production in 2013 after a class-action lawsuit was filed by Ed O'Bannon in regard to the use of his likeness. EA Sports has long maintained it would be willing to pay players for the use of their likenesses, but they were met with resistance from the NCAA, which has maintained it would violate the spirit of its amateurism rules.

With the NCAA changing its policy, it appears all parties could have the green light to revive the series.