Some sad news to report, as the NCAA has announced it will not renew its licensing agreement with EA Sports for its 21-year-old NCAA Football series once the current deal expires in 2014:
EA Sports contract with NCAA expires in June 2014. Casualty of Ed O’Bannon lawsuit. NCAA Football 2014 is last game.
— Jon Solomon (@jonsol) July 17, 2013
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.
Because of NCAA rules, current college players cannot be used as cover athletes. Instead, each cover features a player whose college eligibility ended the season before the game’s release, wearing his former college uniform.
This has lead to a lot of lawsuits and friction between EA, colleges, the NCAA, and collegiate athletes.