Electronic Arts will continue making college football games featuring real-life schools — the publisher's 20-year-old NCAA Football franchise will continue under a new name without the NCAA's involvement, EA Sports head Andrew Wilson announced today.
"This is simple: EA Sports will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks," said Wilson, executive vice president of EA Sports. "Our relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Company is strong and we are already working on a new game for next-generation consoles which will launch next year and feature the college teams, leagues and all the innovation fans expect from EA Sports."
The NCAA's current contract with EA is set to expire in June 2014, and the NCAA announced earlier today that it will not renew that agreement, citing the "current business climate" and ongoing litigation that could change the face of college sports. However, that only covers the use of the NCAA name and logo; everything else in EA's college football video games is licensed separately.
EA has an agreement with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) that covers the team names, uniforms, colors, mascots, stadiums and related items for all the colleges and universities featured in the game. That deal will continue, although EA is prevented from negotiating an exclusive licensing contract with the CLC by its 2012 settlement for an antitrust lawsuit regarding its football franchises.
As SB Nation points out, the lack of an NCAA license does not prevent developer EA Tiburon from using the schools themselves, college football playoff system, bowl games, conference names, Heisman Trophy, coach names or ESPN branding.
NCAA Football 14, which launched last week, will be the final game under the NCAA Football name. EA has yet to officially announce the new title of its college football franchise, but ESPN reports that it will simply be called EA Sports College Football.
Update: An EA Sports representative declined comment when asked to confirm if College Football is indeed the new name of the franchise.