It has been two full college football seasons without a new release in the NCAA Football franchise from EA Sports. Legal disputes ended up putting the franchise on ice for an undetermined amount of time, and ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit is tired of waiting around for a new version of the game.
“They better,” Herbstreit said when asked if the NCAA Football video game would ever return in a story published by Alex Martin Smith for SEC Country. “I can’t believe Ed O’Bannon took that game away from us.”
“Ed O’Bannon ruined that for all of us,” Herbtreit added. “And hopefully we can get that fixed.”
For those who have been living under a rock, former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon took the NCAA to court over the use of player likenesses in a groundbreaking legal battle that spread its wings to a number of areas of concern. One of the reasons for the lawsuit in the first place was the use of O’Bannon’s likeness in EA Sports’ March Madness video game, which quickly included the more popular and successful run of NCAA Football video games.
In the end, a $60 million settlement was agreed to between the plaintiffs, EA Sports, and the NCAA. As the legal battles were heating up, schools and conferences began distancing themselves from EA Sports, and eventually the NCAA pulled its licensing agreement from EA Sports and the video game giant shut down operation of the NCAA Football franchise.
“I was probably as devastated or more devastated than anybody in the country,” Herbstreit claims. “I’ll do anything I can do to help be a part, to lead a cause, bring that game back.”
It should be noted, in the interest of fairness, Herbstreit has another reason to be upset with the loss of the video game. Herbstreit had been a voice included in the game, which means he was getting a financial incentive to be upset about the loss of the game. We don’t know how much Herbstreit was getting paid to provide his vocals to the game or even the promotion of it, but it was more than any player who
appeared in was represented in was served as the inspiration was used without permission ever received before the lawsuits emerged. Sure, Herbstreit was probably a real fan of the game, but let’s not think he lost something out of this as well.
“You know what they’d love for their compensation to be?” Herbstreit asked when discussing compensation for players appearing in the game, should it return in the future. “Just give ‘em a free game. That’s the compensation that they would take.”
Last week, the NCAA Football Facebook page caused quite a stir by posting its first update since the summer of 2014, right about when the franchise went into hibernation mode. It turned out to either be nothing or a sign many want to believe means the franchise is eventually coming back at some point in time. Odds are there will be no NCAA Football video game released this season, but a potential return in 2017 may not be completely out of the ordinary. 2018 may even be more realistic a possibility, but there is no official suggestion EA will be reviving the popular franchise just yet.