One of the side effects of the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA was the EA Sports cancelled its NCAA Football series. It had previously cancelled its NCAA Basketball series back in 2010 due to low sales.
Well, SB Nation sister site Polygon is reporting that college basketball may soon be returning to a gaming console near you.
This morning, Polygon reported that 11 universities including UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Connecticut, Georgetown, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Texas, Villanova and Wisconsin had licensed 2K Sports for video games. The report relied on screen shots which appeared last week on an Operation Sports forum (be sure to click the Show Spoiler button at the bottom).
But, a funny thing happened along the way.
The CLC database has been modified to remove the entries. When I attempted to search the database myself, no schools are listed as having any video game licensing at all.
Along with this, the website TrueAchievements.com leaked 50 achievements that players can accomplish in NBA 2K16 including two achievements referencing college play — signing with one school, and declaring the intent to enter the NBA Draft early. This would seem to point to the universities' inclusion in at least the MyCareer narrative being written by Spike Lee.
Digging a little deeper, I checked UCLA's lists of licensees. But, again, there were mixed results. The Alphabetical List includes 2K Sports as a licensee while the Categorical List omits the company. Both lists are dated 6/2015.
So, whether 2K Sports is on the verge of bringing college basketball (or football) back to video games remains to be seen. But, as someone who grew up playing video games, I would certainly like to see the games return and I would like to see student-athletes compensated for the use of their image and likeness should any video game company, whether it's 2K Sports or EA Sports or someone else, bring back college sports games because, in my opinion, it's a thrill to scoring the winning touchdown in the Rose Bowl or hit the game-winning shot inside Pauley Pavilion even if it's only in a video game.