Return of NCAA Football video game could help college players in many ways

EA Sports

With the NCAA exploring at political gunpoint the possibility of finally letting college football and basketball players profit from their names, likenesses, and images, many quickly became excited about the potential return of the NCAA Football video game franchise.

Abandoned by EA once it became clear that EA and the NCAA could no longer profit from digital players simulating the names, likenesses, and images of their real-life counterparts (and of course widely blamed on “the lawyers” and not on EA and the NCAA for unfairly taking that money from those who deserved it), letting players get compensated for names, likenesses, and images would lay the foundation for bringing it back. EA, indeed, is interested in rebooting the brand. But having the ability to pay the players what they rightfully deserve would be only the first step.

Without a union to sell the name, likeness, and image rights of college football players on a widespread basis, EA and the NCAA would have to put a mechanism in place for getting each and every player to agree to terms. Many will simply sign on the dotted line and take whatever measly check they are offered. Others may hold out for much more. Some may refuse to sign at all.

The entire process would become far more efficient if all college football players belonged to an organization with the power to negotiate on their behalf. And therein would reside true power, legal and political.

While efforts to unionize college athletes have failed, nothing prevents them from forming a group that would have the power to advance their interests and to negotiate collective marketing rights with EA and anyone else who wants to use their names, likeness, and images on a widespread basis. That group also could try to secure better terms for players with the NFL, even if it would have no specific bargaining power with respect to the labor deal.

Retired pro football players have aligned to force a seat at the table for CBA talks, even if the NFL owes them no current legal obligations. The league still acknowledges its former players, largely for P.R. purposes, when it comes to deciding how the overall pie will be divided. If the league’s future players formed a similar group, it could force its way into the room and advocate zealously for those who have no say in potentially dramatic alterations to their eventual rights.

In 2011, for example, the league pushed through a rookie wage scale. Aimed ostensibly at ensuring more money would be available for veterans, the dramatic reduction in overall compensation to incoming players created an incentive to skew rosters younger and cheaper, to the detriment of veterans. Also, the draft continues to force new players to accept employment from a company for which those new players may not wish to work, ripping them potentially thousands of miles away from family and friends with no say in the matter, short of sitting out a full season and re-entering the draft pool.

Even if those new players have few if any legal rights, the creation of a group that would advance their legal rights in college could then try to do the same for the professional level, using all available means to pressure the NFL and the NFL Players Association to account for a critical group of athletes who are consistently ignored.

So, basically, letting college football players make money from their names, likenesses, and images could lead in time to the emergence of a group that will help college football players force their way into making more money once they enter the NFL. While that would complicate the efforts of the NFL and NFLPA to maintain labor peace, that labor peace would never come at the expense of the future new members of the workforce.

18 responses to “Return of NCAA Football video game could help college players in many ways

  1. I have no strong opinions one way or the other about allowing players to profit from their likenesses, but if it’s going to be done, it has to be in such a way so as to ensure there’s no Title IX violations. Because you just know dirtbag lawyers are salivating at the thought of profiting off of such lawsuits.

  2. So whom exactly, is responsible when these college players use their money to get drunk, high, or flat out wasted…and flunk out of school?

  3. Queue the ‘But they already get paid in the form of a full-ride scholarship!’ argument in three, two, one..

  4. Why not just pool a percentage of the money into a general fund and pay it out to students individually upon graduation, leaving early for the draft, retiring from the sport, etc. The athletes get to maintain amateur status, but get their money once they leave? I think the players should receive it as made, but I feel like this would be a more realistic compromise between the old school “COLLEGE FOOBAW” crowd and the newer “they should be compensated” crowd.

  5. the “free education ” argument is old news. These young adults are employees and should be paid as such. No different than you working a job and getting benefits such as free education, trainings, continuing education etc. You would not be ok with getting 50k a year (avg tuition) for helping generate millions a year for your employer.

  6. Only ONE college in the entire United States, has allowed a union.
    Despite 99.99999% of all colleges and universities being extremely liberal and therefore support unions as long as the unions do not affect them (colleges and universities)…I cannot see a union of CFB players happening because the players are students, NOT employees.

  7. Why not just have an ncaa game with the schools and do random generation on everything and let people create/edit players likeness however they’d like.

  8. Without putting a lot of thought into this, the first thing that comes to mind is: If players get compensated for images, etc, wouldn’t that be the end of their “amateur” status? And if that happens, why wouldn’t they be able to get shoe deals and any other kind of endorsements they can get their hands on?

  9. Still have the salary cap to deal with. So you can whine all you wish about rookies getting stiffed and the league unfairly shifting their rosters to younger players, but the truth is most teams are at or very close to the cap. You make it sound like the owners are chiseling to lower their payroll but as long as the roster numbers and total payroll are universally defined the only flexibility is how to divide the pie.

  10. According to Florio every athlete on earth is a victim in one way or another. These guys are privledged, in that they were given athletic genes, and they have a free ride through college. That gives them an advantage over just about all the other kids and they should be thankful. Anyone who preaches that money is more important than knowledge is a fool. You could lose your money but you will never lose your education.

  11. Football has no minor league system, you must go through college to pursue an NFL career. Such a process is literally stacked against every individual, people are okay with this archaic one-sided relationship?

    Your just damage controlling bullying tactics against people that are good at playing football at the end of the day and pretending it is all normal as apple pie, when it is not normal. These are adults given no choice in a career path which purposely tries to clearly abuse them and not remotely try to compensate them fairly either.

    Them having to even fight for their image/likeness rights was sort of a big joke, they are literal adults when they enter college and nobody has a right to be abusing that. That is just absurd to begin with, do people not even see the joke in all this? Literal adults cannot control their own image/likeness/name, people are trying to ignore the hypocrisy?

  12. pstrife says:
    May 18, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    Football has no minor league system, you must go through college to pursue an NFL career. Such a process is literally stacked against every individual, people are okay with this archaic one-sided relationship?

    You don’t have to attend college to play pro ball. A lot of teams offer walk-on tryouts. If you’re good enough you’ll get a call-back to attend camp. The problem is that there aren’t many guys walking the streets everyday who can just walk onto a pro football team. Especially those with no college experience at all. Do you know of any 20-23 year olds with no college experience who can play better than someone who’s spent 3 or 4 years in college learning the game?

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