Say goodbye to the NCAA official license for Electronic Arts, as NCAA Football 14 will be the last to feature the National Collegiate Athletic Association license.
The NCAA released a statement earlier announcing its lack of intent to renew its contract with EA, a contract which gave EA NCAA official teams and bowl games.
“The NCAA has made the decision not to enter a new contract for the license of its name and logo for the EA Sports NCAA Football video game,” reads the NCAA statement. “The current contract expires in June 2014, but our timing is based on the need to provide EA notice for future planning. As a result, the NCAA Football 2014 video game will be the last to include the NCAA’s name and logo.”
The decision likely stems from former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon, whose lawsuit against the NCAA centers around using amateur athletes’ likeness without paying the players for it.
“We are confident in our legal position regarding the use of our trademarks in video games,” read the statement. “But given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA.”
The NCAA, however, claims it never licensed current students’ names, images or likenesses to EA:
“The NCAA has no involvement in licenses between EA and former student-athletes. Member colleges and universities license their own trademarks and other intellectual property for the video game. They will have to independently decide whether to continue those business arrangements in the future.”
Meanwhile, EA confirmed its plans to work with the Collegiate Licensing Company to release a new college-football game next year.
EA Sports Executive Vice President Andrew Wilson commented in a blog post, saying “EA Sports will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks.”
“Our relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Company is strong and we are already working on a new game for next generation consoles which will launch next year and feature the college teams, leagues and all the innovation fans expect from EA Sports.”
While the O’Bannon lawsuit stands to have a long-lasting effect on how publishers think about and handle licensing, how it affects future college sports games from EA might not be quite so detrimental.
Schools license their logos individually so there is still a game to be made. The bowls, which will be affected, possibly might benefit from EA’s own system, which, as a colleague points out, “will probably be better than the stupid BCS system.”