The NCAA won't renew its contract with Electronic Arts for the publisher's long-running NCAA Football series of college football video games, the organization announced today.
"Given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA," said the organization in a statement released today.
The litigation in question is the NCAA's ongoing class-action lawsuit against some former collegiate athletes, who charge that the organization profited off the use in video games of their names and likenesses. The NCAA added that it remains "confident in [its] legal position regarding the use of [its] trademarks in video games."
EA's current licensing agreement with the NCAA, which is an exclusive contract, expires in June 2014. Unless EA continues the NCAA Football franchise next year with an unlicensed game, this year's NCAA Football 14 will stand as the last college football game officially licensed with the NCAA name and logo.
"Member colleges and universities license their own trademarks and other intellectual property for the video game," the NCAA pointed out in its statement. The Collegiate Licensing Company handles licensing for individual schools, and EA also has an exclusive deal with the CLC for the schools' trademarks — team names, uniforms and related content. EA could continue the series without the NCAA's involvement if it separately licensed schools and their football teams.
"participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA"
In a settlement for a different lawsuit last year, a class-action antitrust suit regarding its football games, EA agreed that it would not form exclusive licensing agreements with the NCAA for five years following the expiration of their current deal.
EA began producing college football games in 1993 with Bill Walsh College Football. The first title in the series to bear the "NCAA Football" moniker was 1997's NCAA Football 98.
We've reached out to EA for comment, and will update this article with any information we receive.
Update: EA will continue producing college football games, just without the official NCAA license, reports ESPN's Brett McMurphy.
Update 2: McMurphy later reported that EA will rebrand the NCAA Football series as simply "College Football." This afternoon, EA released a statement from Andrew Wilson, executive vice president of EA Sports, confirming that it will continue to produce college football games without the NCAA name.
- Titanfall review: my buddy
- Street Fighter: The Movie — What went wrong
- Kongregate to publish Game of Thrones Ascent for mobile this year
- How indie devs are finding success, and publicity, in toys and merch
- The final years of Irrational Games, according to those who were there
- BBC launches update of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text adventure
- Why Watch Dogs went into hiding
- Twitch and Capcom teaming up for Street Fighter league Capcom Pro Tour
- Want to know how many times you died in Dark Souls?
- Ouya may not be dead, but its long history of stumbles makes success unlikely
- Polygon Daily Off-Topic: Prepared for Titanfall? (Mon 10 Mar)
- When can I buy this digitally for Xbox One?
- Anime, Cartoons, Comics! Plight Vol. 2, No. 5: The where I yet again break the rules
- Getting a PS4
- More Pokémon Discussions: Redux
- Owen Good, joining Polygon as senior reporter, weekends
- How is Battlefield 4 on PC
- Prepare for Titanfall (Xbox One)
- Polygon Off-Topic Weekender: We broke 1K! (8-9 March)
- WTB physical DS2 for PC in US