When EA Sports shuttered its NCAA Football series about a week ago, it cited ongoing lawsuits brought by current and former college football players. Lawyers for those players say killing off NCAA Football was never a goal of their action, and they're not opposed to the series returning.
"We would be fine if they published a game," Leonard Aragon, the co-lead counsel for the players, told Polygon's Samit Sarkar in an interview published today.
Moreover, "If the NCAA would allow student-athletes to receive some compensation for appearing in video games, that's something that we would be amenable to and would certainly listen to as part of a settlement," Aragon told Polygon, "but we haven't heard anything yet."
Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company filed notice they had reached a settlement with college players in four different actions, barely hours after EA Sports said on Sept. 26 that it would not publish a college football game in 2014.
As of now, it appears only that a college player could receive a settlement from a legal action related to the use of his likeness and still maintain his eligibility, according to statements from the NCAA after Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel trademarked his "Johnny Football" nickname.
That means, theoretically, that no player would become ineligible for receiving a distribution from the EA/CLC settlement (said to be $40 million in all, but that figure is unconfirmed) but there still is no structure in place to actually license the use of real players' names going forward. One would assume EA Sports would not resume this series without such a system in place.