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How to Bring Back the NCAA Football Series Part 2: Limited Licensing 
Posted on December 11, 2016 at 05:18 PM.

Another Fictional cover for the fictional NCAA Football 17

We all miss the NCAA Football series. The the summer wait until Madden's release became much longer after we had our college football series stolen from us. No longer did we have the endless "are the rosters ready yet" posts on the forum. (Not that those are truly missed.) No matter how you feel about the lawsuits that led to the end of the series, we gamers were and still are the biggest losers.

Does it have to be this way? Some would say yes. Others would point out that with a little imagination, we could see a return of not just college football but a return of college video games as a whole.

In my new four part series, we will discuss the different option that one could use to bring back the NCAA or College football series. Those options include: No official licenses, limited licensing, deals with only the major conferences, and new agreement with NCAA and players.

This is Part two. If you missed Part One, please read it here and leave feedback as well:

Part Two: Limited licensing

The old days of the NCAA series was more in this model. Yes, they had a deal with the NCAA and all the conferences and schools so how does that seem limited? Well the limited part in my view comes from the fact no players were a part of the deal.

The NCAA didn't allow any form of compensation for players. As a result, EA chose to use the players numbers and no names. They did allow us to edit those names and have real roster after adding the names. The editing did take some time but was relatively easy as the players had their actual numbers.

If the NCAA and any publisher decided to bring back this option, you should expect things to be different this go around. There would be two ways to make sure this would work and they could avoid lawsuits. And these options would make it either impossible for editors or a lot harder on roster editors.

The first option would be the easiest for them: Make fake players with random numbers and lockout any editing. This would not be the one most gamers would want but would allow the NCAA, the schools and conferences along with the developer the easiest path to avoiding lawsuits.

So in this option, you'd be stuck with John Smith as the quarterback for Louisville instead of being able to create the defending Heisman winner Lamar Jackson. And of course there would be a dynasty mode so over time you'll be playing with made up players anyway. Sadly, in this option there would not be a create a recruit option either. This option is all about safety and avoiding lawsuits.

The other option in a limited licenses option would be completely fake rosters with full editing allowed. The biggest difference from the old days is instead of editing Louisville QB #8, you'll be editing John Smith #12 or just Louisville QB #12. The point being is the original base player is not close to the real life guy. Therefore when you edit him, you're changing it from their base model.

The biggest downside here would be a longer wait on those working on rosters as they'd be changing names, height, weight and in some cases maybe even races of the base model. The plus said is after the wait you would still get the actual 2017 team.

The biggest appeal of going this route is it would be the fastest option to get the game back in production, aside from the last one I posted last week. The NCAA doesn't want to make any deal that allows players to get paid. Whether you agree with the NCAA's position or not is different debate. But we know they still stand against any player payment.

Also, this option ensures you get all the schools, conferences and bowls back. This brings you back the game you once got with one of two options around the rosters being used. The NCAA is involved so that also means a couple of items from part one will now not be welcome. Those being seeing goal posts come down and school disciplines.

Still, this option I believe represents something a lot of folks would be more comfortable than seeing College Station listed as the team name instead of Texas A&M. It would basically be the game they last gave us with NCAA 14 but with the default rosters being nothing like the real life school's rosters.

As usual, leave feedback in the comments as to what you think.
# 1 Toastandtoaster @ Dec 11
I like NCAA 14 and how it was and sometimes I like to start a dynasty with random names anyway just because but either way, having NCAA back would be a good thing. out of these two those, would rather have option one just for the things you see on Saturday that NCAA wouldn't allow in a game.
# 2 thescoop @ Dec 11
Thanks, Toastandtoaster. Of the two options, I do think a lot are going to look at this option as one of their favorites. I do still two more to go.
# 3 jRick21 @ Dec 12
any word on being able to play ncaa 14 on xbox one?
# 4 thescoop @ Dec 13
JRick, I'm betting we haven't it show up on backwards list yet for a reason. My guess is EA is holding it up. No inside info, just the guess considering it hasn't happened yet that it isn't happening. Hopefully they'll prove me wrong.
# 5 tessl @ Dec 13
I like your ideas and I'd play a game with generic players and real schools but the lawyers for the game and the conferences would have to get together first and unanimously agree it is lawsuit proof before they proceed.

I don't see any way to get actual players because they have no union to sign a deal with and therefore there is nobody to negotiate with. I think your idea is probably the best way to get a NCAA football game for current gen consoles.
# 6 poulka @ Dec 14
I agree with both options you presented and either as a possible solution. I am fine generic guys because that's when I had best moments with series, playing with "my guys"!
# 7 thescoop @ Dec 14
Thanks for the feedback, Poulka. I'm hoping to get part 3 up this weekend. I like to give each one a week between the new article but with Christmas coming up, Parts 3 and 4 might be a bit more spread out. Family may dictate that I don't have time to type up an installment.

Still, you guys and your feedback is why I enjoy sharing these ideas. Thanks, again, Poulka.
# 8 Junior Moe @ Dec 14
Nice write up and I totally agree. Give me full NCAA with fake named rosters. I'll take the L on editing/sharing players as much as I'd like to have the real players. But it's about avoiding lawsuits and getting a game out so I'm down for it. Like you said, the NCAA is staunchly against paying players and they (nor EA) aren't gonna open themselves up to more likeness stuff.
# 9 cch99 @ Dec 15
Personally I think this is the way to go. They'll have to randomize ratings as well. Back in the day you could randomly generate names when you started. IMO, the best way to do this is to randomly generate names and ratings but allow the user on the front end to maybe have checkboxes for each team that would represent strengths or things a team is known for, i.e PSU is Linebacker U. Only for team generation though, once a dynasty was started it would all be based on the coaches recruiting style, etc. if they did this I wouldn't necessarily even need editing personally unless there is sharing because I am not going to be going through and naming and re-rating everyone. The bottom line is the ratings will have to be random too so there is no question of making a player similar to the real person, That means ratings and well as visual things.
# 10 TimLawNYC @ Dec 17
The problem is that this "random player" option has always been there, and would almost certainly avoid legal liability. The fact that nobody has made such a game suggests that EA and other companies believe that a game with only random players will not sell. Having "real" players and rosters may not matter to many on this site, but EA clearly believes that it mattered to a large portion of its audience, or we most likely would have seen them make this kind of game already.
# 11 Junior Moe @ Dec 17
I think the problem here with college games returning is twofold. One, is the demand. 2K dropped out of the college hoops market because of low sales and the price of the NCAA licensing. College Hoops was about as good a b ball game gets, IMO. EA followed a few years later. That was with the more or less "accurate" rosters. College Football did better sales wise. I think that one could be profitable on it's own. But there;s still the likeness issue lurking and just what exactly constitues a players likeness. For instance, would Clemson having one of the highest rated QB's in the game, even if he doesn't match Watson's physical appearance at all, constitute likeness. I don't think so. But I could still see some players claiming that. So is it worth it at the end of the day? Especially with Madden now bring in more dough through Ultimate Team. I'd venture to guess that Madden through Ultimate Team alone has brought EA more money than NCAA Football would over the past 3 years.
# 12 daabsolute1 @ Dec 19
I am in agreement with everyone who says just bring the game back with fake names. Like it was said above, its always been there. It will only cause heartache to those who don't like to edit the game. A generic game with EASports branding may not sell as much as one with Licensing for Authenticity but hell, I'd be one of the first in line to play the generic version. I love College Football and would not care if I couldn't get the real likeness (editable of course).
# 13 thescoop @ Dec 20
Thanks for more feedback. Sorry for no part three yet. I was sick all weekend and wasn't able to get it done. If I don't get it posted before the weekend, I'd expect another delay for part 3.

Again, sorry for all of you who have been enjoying my series so far. I hope to have this bug beat and get back to writing soon.
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