The NCAA has decided that it's not worth it to enter into a new contract with Electronic Arts, meaning NCAA Football 14 will be the last game to carry the brand.
"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," said the college sports organization in a post on its official site. "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."
That "cost of litigation" mentioned is a reference to an ongoing lawsuit against the NCAA by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon. He has called out the organization for profiting from the likenesses of college players without providing compensation. The six-year EA contract for NCAA basketball ran out in 2011, and NCAA Basketball 2010 was the series last entry. O'Bannon's lawsuit was the impetus for the removal of features from NCAA Basketball 2010, and possibly the ending of the series altogether.
"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."
Player names are currently not used in EA's NCAA Football: the game only matches player numbers to their real-life positions. In fact, it's actually against NCAA regulations for student athletes to receive compensation other than education for their time on the field.
The change could open the college market back up for EA competitor 2K Sports. The publisher hasn't had a college sports game since 2007's College Hoops 2K8.
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