NCAA 14 cover

Bad news for college football fans – as of next year EA will no longer be allowed to use the NCAA title for their popular college football game.

Earlier today, the NCAA released the following announcement on its website:

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.

Among other things in the statement, the “…costs of litigation…” sticks out as a possible reference to the recent case in which EA was penalized over 27 million dollars over their rights to the exclusive use of the NFL and NCAA licenses. It may also be of reference to a recent 3rd Circuit court ruling that NCAA players can sue EA over the use of their likenesses.

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.

The secondary part of the statement leads some to believe the game may still be resurrected just under a different name (Student Athlete Football Sim 2015 anyone?) given that it’s up to the schools to license their own stadiums, likenesses and logos for the game. Logic dictates, however, that if the seemingly infinite prowess of the NCAA chooses not to pursue continued contracts with developers, schools won’t either.

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Good. Maybe we’ll see another 2k-caliber football game in the future, instead of EA’s regurgitated Madden-style fare.