The NCAA announced Wednesday they will no longer allow Electronic Arts Inc. to use their name or logo in any video games following NCAA Football '14, ending a generation of the popular video game; the reason given being the pending lawsuit led by former UCLA star Ed O'Bannon in which a governing body claims EA owes billions of dollars to former players like O'Bannon for using their likeness for free over many years.
The NCAA said it won't enter into a new contract with EA Sports beyond the current one that expires in June 2014. That means "NCAA Football 2014" will be the last edition of the popular game. However, EA Sports still plans to produce a college football video game depicting powerhouse schools such as Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon.
"Member colleges and universities license their own trademarks and other intellectual property for the video game," the NCAA said in a statement. "They will have to independently decide whether to continue those business arrangements in the future."
The Collegiate Licensing Company, which manages the trademarks of the majority of the colleges in Electronic Arts' NCAA football video game, said Wednesday it would continue to work with the video game maker for future editions of the franchise.
"EA Sports' trademark licensing agreement with the NCAA is set to expire, and the company will be re-branding its college football game so as to exclude the NCAA's name and marks," said Andrew Giangola, spokesman for IMG College, which owns CLC, in a statement.
Starting next season, all "NCAA" games will be called "College Football 15," etc.
Considering schools will have to determine themselves whether or not to have their "likeness" used in a video game, it will be interesting if all schools allow it. For instance, what if all SEC schools oblige, except for Alabama and Florida? What kind of college football video game can you have without two of the most prominent schools in not only the SEC, but in the country?
I remember asking myself as a 10-year-old why college games didn't have names of players like the pro games did. Wasn't the ambiguity of simply listing players as their jersey number done to avoid this mess? I mean they've been doing this since the early-to-mid '90's for God's sake — while O'Bannon was at UCLA, which was before most current high school kids were born.
Are former athletes like O'Bannon in the right here, or is this whole suit ridiculous?
Either way, if this lawsuit depreciates the quality of college sports games you can be sure a lot of people will be very unhappy, including myself — an Alabama alum.