NCAA Cuts Ties With EA Sports

The NCAA has severed its ties with EA Sports, the long-time producer of their video games, Wednesday. EA’s contract with the NCAA expires this year after NCAA Football 14 and the NCAA has declined the opportunity to renew its contract with the game maker, an NCAA press release announced:

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. 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. We are confident in our legal position regarding the use of our trademarks in video games. 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 has never licensed the use of current student-athlete 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.

This is an obvious distancing attempt by the NCAA, who is embroiled in a lawsuit with EA Sports brought on by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon. O’Bannon v. the NCAA seeks payment for the use of college player’s likenesses in video games.

While EA Sports can no longer use the NCAA logo and licensing, it plans to continue making a non-NCAA affiliated college football video game. ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reported that the next video game will be called “College Football 15.” It must have been named by the same person that named the upcoming “College Football Playoff.”

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