Kirk Herbstreit has always been vocal about being the vocals behind the popular NCAA football games if they ever make a play again. However, over seven years later, it’s looking highly unlikely.
The NCAA video games, including both football and basketball, were a massive hit among video gamers and sports enthusiasts.
Kirk Herbstreit was the Buckeyes quarterback back upon the release of the game. He has acknowledged the fact he spent a multitude of hours playing with friends and teammates.
Kirk Herbstreit: The Voice of NCAA Video Games
In fact, he loved the game so much that he became the voice of the video game as the in-game commentator.
Herbstreit went as far as to lead a virtual broadcast booth with Brad Nessler and Lee Corso providing analysis for the large number of players whose dedication was rampant during the game’s most popular times.
“It was a great honor to be asked to go from playing the game to being on the game, and I would love to do that. I hope to get the opportunity when the game comes back,” says Herbstreit.
However, everything changed for Herbstreit and all of the NCAA video game players following a lawsuit shutting the game down indefinitely and costing EA Sports and the CLC a pretty penny after being served with lawsuits.
In 2009, former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon filed a lawsuit against the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Company.
The game used the players’ likenesses without citing names. O’Bannon isn’t happy with the use of his likeness without his name or any profits.
“I was probably as devastated or more devastated than anybody in the country,” Herbstreit said. “I’ll do anything I can do to help be a part, to lead a cause, bring that game back.”
In 2015, a $40 million settlement with EA Sports and the CLC pays out to approximately 100,000 players who are unhappy they being on display on a video game without receiving any credentials, use of names, or compensations over the years.
“I’ve never met one player in college football that’s like: ‘They can’t use my name and likeness! I need payment!’ They’re just thrilled to be on the game. They love being on the game,” he adds. “It’s like the biggest highlight of their life, is to be on the game.”
Odds of the Return of the Video Games Don’t Look Good
The odds of Kirk Herbstreit becoming the voice of the NCAA video games, or for those games to come back at all, aren’t looking good.
“It was the group’s conclusion that group licenses, which would combine school trademarks with student-athlete NIL in products like video games, replica jerseys and trading card collections are unworkable in college sports,” said Val Ackerman, a leading member of the NCAA working group and the commissioner of the Big East, “largely because of the absence of a collective bargaining agency to manage the terms of group NIL use on behalf of the student-athletes.”
Holding Out Hope for the Return of the NCAA Games
“My best hope would be within the next couple of years, we see a video game,” says Kirk. “Trust me, EA Sports hears the noise and the demand. They’re flattered by that, and they’re going to do everything they can to defend the rules and guidelines to be able to provide players and, of course, fans with an NCAA video game where they don’t have to go all the way back to 2014 and unload the current roster so keep your fingers crossed.”
The NCAA holds annual meetings in January in which it votes on major legislation, and it could institute NIL rules during any part of the first half of 2021.