Bad news for both video game and college football fans:
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 seemingly stems out of the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit, and it looks like the NCAA is trying to rid itself of perceived baggage in that regard. While this press release states that member colleges can license their own trademarks for a game, the difficulty of signing 120 contracts, plus the thought that the schools may not want to face litigation of their own would seem to make that unlikely. On the other hand, demand is clearly there, so we'll see what the future holds.
The NCAA Football series has long been a part of being a college football fan, all the way back since the days of its predecessor, Bill Walsh College Football, for the Super Nintendo. Here's hoping something happens to make the game feasible again, because this is a big blow for fans. In the meantime, you may want to get a copy of the current installment. You may be playing it for awhile.