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NCAA will not renew contract with EA Sports, NCAA Football 14 last game ever?

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It was thought that this could become a possible outcome after the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit, but it appears that the NCAA has decided to be pre-emptive about it.

Per the NCAA Press Release:

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.

Perhaps if Ed O’Bannon had made it to the NBA and hadn’t been a bust and ended up working as a car salesman this wouldn’t have happened.  But it’s likely that someone else would have brought along a suit against the NCAA.  It was only a matter of time before the NCAA was finally taken down.

Sure EA Sports could license individual schools, but this won’t happen.  That would cost far too much money and the NCAA isn’t going to give out the license to another company.  So pick up your copy of NCAA Football 14 today and hold onto it, it’s likely the last version there will ever be.

UPDATE: From Owen Good, he says that this is only going to be a cosmetic change and that the game itself won’t be changed because the conferences, bowl games and teams are licensed separately from the NCAA.  A lot remains up in the air, but apparently there is still hope.

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