10:40 AM - June 25, 2014 by MMChrisS
In what is most definitely a strange twist of fate, NCAA Football fans must now root for the legal team behind Ed O'Bannon to win against the NCAA for the legal structures required for college football video games to return to actually exist quicker than they might otherwise exist.
EA Executive Joel Linzner admitted on the stand last week in the O'Bannon vs. NCAA trial that EA would love to bring the college football titles back, but only if all of the licenses could be acquired.
To do that will mean having all schools and conferences on board with the title in an environment free from potential litigation -- in short the college landscape will have to allow for players to get compensation for their licensed likenesses.
If the NCAA were to win the case against O'Bannon, there is a very low chance schools will feel compelled to pressure the NCAA into giving players a much bigger slice of the pie -- but even then the legal structures could still come around, as college athletics is definitely heading in that general direction anyways. However, what will force the NCAA's hand (as well as schools and conferences), into much quicker action will be if the O'Bannon team wins their case against the NCAA.
EA has made it clear that the loss of the support of the NCAA, conferences, and schools was the tipping point which drove the NCAA out of business. EA was initially quick to deny the ongoing lawsuits was a cause, but Lisner did blame the O'Bannon suit as being the reason for the game's cancellation, despite it earning $80 million a year in revenue.
The monetary reasons, all $80 million of them, are there for the series return in the future. What isn't clear is when the legal structures will exist within the NCAA to allow for player likenesses to be compensated so college football games can return. It is a near certainty that when those structures are in place, we will see the return of NCAA Football in all its glory.