Return of 'NCAA Football' Video Game Unlikely Under NIL Recommendation, NCAA Working Group Says

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The NCAA Board of Governors is moving toward allowing student-athletes to be compensated from their name, image and likeness, but EA's 'NCAA Football' video game is unlikely to make a return. 

The NCAA Board of Governors has moved toward allowing student-athletes to be paid for sponsorships and endorsement deals as early as the 2021-22 academic year. However, the co-chair of that group, Big East commissioner Val Ackerman, said the new guidelines would not allow student-athletes to be represented in video games with school licensing.

"It was the group’s conclusion that group licenses, which would combine school trademarks with student-athlete NIL in products like video games, replica jerseys and trading card collections are unworkable in college sports, largely because of the absence of a collective bargaining agency to manage the terms of group NIL use on behalf of the student-athletes," Ackerman said in a conference call on Wednesday. 

New NIL rules would not allow the use of school logos, trademarks or other intellectual property in any sponsorship initiatives, according to Ackerman. The lack of a union or bargaining unit makes group licensing in college sports "unworkable." 

Under the NCAA working group's NIL recommendations, student-athletes would be able to sell autographs and memorabilia and be paid for personal appearances. However, they would be banned from wearing school-branded apparel in personal endorsement deals. 

In order for 'NCAA Football' to make a return, the working group would need to amend its recommendations to the Board of Governors to include group licensing. The NIL rules would go into effect for the 2021-22 season if the NCAA passes legislation in January 2021.