Electronic Arts has inked a new licensing agreement for college football video games, allowing the publisher to continue producing those titles without the name or logo of the NCAA, reports Joystiq.
Earlier this week, the NCAA announced it would not renew its current deal with EA. The contract, which expires at the end of June 2014, allowed the NCAA name and logo to appear in the publisher's NCAA Football series of college football games. The NCAA made the decision because of its ongoing legal battles, including a class-action lawsuit in which former student-athletes allege that the organization profited off their names and likenesses in video games and other products without allowing them to be compensated. NCAA Football 14, which was released last week, will be the final NCAA-licensed college football game from EA.
The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) and EA are also named as defendants in the suit, but the two companies said this week that they would press forward with college football games, since the NCAA's involvement has little to do with their ability to collaborate on games. Their current agreement also expires June 30, 2014. Joystiq cites an anonymous source saying EA and the CLC have signed a new licensing deal that will take effect July 1, 2014, and run for three years. EA said earlier this week that next year's game is already in development on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Unlike the current agreement between EA and the CLC, the new one is reportedly a non-exclusive contract, which it must be. Under the terms of the $27 million settlement in a different football-game lawsuit — Pecover v. Electronic Arts, an antitrust suit regarding EA's Madden NFL, NCAA Football and Arena Football series — the publisher is prohibited from forming exclusive licensing agreements for college football games with the NCAA or CLC for a period of five years following the expiration of their current deals next June.
We've reached out to EA, the CLC and the NCAA for comment, and will update this article with any information we receive.
Update: An EA representative said the company has no comment beyond this week's statement confirming its college football series will continue.
Update 2: The CLC confirmed its new agreement with EA in a statement to Polygon today.