NCAA: EA Won’t Be Making Our Football Titles Anymore (But It May Continue To Make College Games)

This will be the last EA game to use the NCAA Football brand.

This will be the last EA game to use the NCAA Football brand.

While we know in our heart that winning a second consecutive Worst Company In America title was the most heartbreaking moment for video game publisher Electronic Arts, this news has to come a pretty close second. The NCAA, which had an exclusive arrangement with EA to produce the wildly popular NCAA-branded college football game, has decided it won’t be signing a new contract with EA. However, it doesn’t look like it’s the end for EA’s association with college football.

“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,” reads a statement from collegiate sports authority. “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.”

As a result of recent antitrust settlement, EA is actually forbidden from signing an exclusive deal with the NCAA for five years after NCAA 2014 is released, but the two partners could have continued along in a non-exclusive relationship.

So it looks like the decision to drop EA is more about putting some distance between the NCAA and EA, both of whom are accused in a lawsuit brought by former college football and basketball players of illegally profiting from these players’ likenesses.

“[G]iven the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA,” continues the statement. “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.”

The NCAA statement does seem to allow that EA could go ahead and make separate non-NCAA college football games on its own.

“Member colleges and universities license their own trademarks and other intellectual property for the video game,” says the NCAA. “They will have to independently decide whether to continue those business arrangements in the future.”

And it seems like EA may indeed be going that route, at least if you believe ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, who Tweeted that not only will EA still be pumping out college football games without its former dance partner, but that the first game will be called, “College Football 15.”

NCAA decides not to renew EA contract due to legal trouble [Polygon]