NCAA Football used to be one of the most popular game franchises, with a legion of loyal followers. Unlike many other games, the series didn't stop because of a lack of success.
The NCAA (the governing body for college athletes in America) stopped the use of image rights across the board, and only the colleges themselves could profit from the sport.
Face of the franchise started the journey
We first saw a hint of NCAA returning in Madden 20 with the Face of the Franchise mode. This was a new addition, that allowed you to take over as a college prospect joining the NFL.
NICE ADDITION: Fans generally enjoyed this mode, but it was short
It only mentioned team names and therefore didn't break any of the current rules. But with those rules changing it would make sense to see EA Sports use Madden as a test-bed for bringing back NCAA Football.
NCAA has made more moves
Recently, we covered that the NCAA had voted to allow athletes to start profiting from their name and images from January 2021. This gave fans hope that an NCAA Football game was back on the cards.
It's not just football, fans of the College Hoops 2k franchise will also be hoping for a return.
Now with this announcement, this potentially opens the door to players being able to have endorsements and make the most of their large social media followings.
$$$: No1 pick Joe Burrow was advertising before the draft
We have already seen the top prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft using their twitter to advertise products.
When can we expect something?
There will be a game released in 2020 called Gridiron Champions. It doesn’t have any licenses and so the teams, kits, and players will be unrecognizable.
We fully expect it to be very customizable so that you can try to replicate reality, but history teaches us that a lack of licensing holds back titles – see Pro Evolution Soccer and NFL 2k franchises.
Due to the time it takes for development as well as the above legal processes to take their due course, we are realistically looking at an NCAA Football 23 title being the first one back, in Summer 2022.
With that in mind, we expect EA to be a bit more tactical. We would expect to see them build a little more on the College team element shown in FOTF this year. Potentially including a lot more teams or positions into the story.