The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has announced it will not be renewing its contract with EA Sports, currently set to expire in June 2014.
The decision comes at the heels of several lawsuits in the last few years, including a class-action suit which finally went to trial in 2012
, involving NCAA players' likenesses being used without compensation in EA Sports titles.
In its statement, NCAA maintained that it had never licensed the likenesses or names of its student athletes to EA, and that NCAA member colleges and universities could continue licensing arrangements on their own terms.
The full statement follows below, reproduced from NCAA's 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.
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."
A separate entity, the Collegiate Licensing Company, licenses a great deal of the content for EA's NCAA
football games, meaning that some version of the title might be allowed to continue if these licenses persist, but it would likely not be called NCAA Football
at that point. ESPN's Brett McMurphy commented on this likelihood over Twitter.