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A popular football video game will be back next year – and University of Illinois players may be characters.

Illinois running back Chase Brown (2) rushes against Nebraska in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Lincoln, Neb.

CHAMPAIGN — As long as Kamron Cox can remember, he and his uncle played EA Sports’ NCAA Football games.

That ended almost ten years ago, after some players featured in the games sued for control over their likenesses.

“This broad sea change towards student athlete autonomy that we’ve seen across college athletics over the better part of a decade – really, the beginning of that was about this game,” Cox said.

In 2021, the Supreme Court ruled college students should get control over their names, images and likeness.

And now the game is back. Last week, EA Sports announced real players would again be featured in the game, which is coming out in 2024.

Cox runs the name, image and likeness (NIL) program at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He anticipates athletes will opt to participate in the game and will get a few hundred dollars for doing so.

“It’s just cooler that you’re on the game. Even at the pro level, very little money is actually made from the game or jersey sales,” Cox said.

According to Cox, new NIL rules are more about giving college students control over their own brands and careers.

Emily Hays is a reporter for Illinois Public Media. Follow her on Twitter@amihatt.

Picture of Emily Hays

Emily Hays

Emily Hays started at WILL in October 2021 after three-plus years in local newsrooms in Virginia and Connecticut. She has won state awards for her housing coverage at Charlottesville Tomorrow and her education reporting at the New Haven Independent. Emily graduated from Yale University where she majored in History and South Asian Studies.

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