Two days after the NCAA announced it would not be renewing its football video game partnership with reigning two-time Worst Company In America champ Electronic Arts comes confirmation that the gaming giant will indeed continue to make college football games, but they simply won’t carry the “NCAA” brand.
The folks at Polygon have confirmed with the Collegiate Licensing Company, an agency that handles licensing for college football programs, that it has reached a deal with EA to start a new franchise that will probably be much like the one EA has been pumping out every year under the NCAA Football banner since 1998.
According to Polygon, the deal starts next summer (EA and the NCAA are already committed to the upcoming NCAA 14 game) and will last for three years. The deal gives EA the ability to include more than 150 colleges in its titles, along with various bowl games.
As a result of last year’s price-fixing settlement against EA, the company is not allowed to enter into any totally exclusive college football deals after its current NCAA arrangement runs its course. That doesn’t necessarily mean that another company can cough up the bucks to offer a competing title, but at least they have the ability to try.
The NCAA, EA, and Collegiate Licensing have all been implicated in a lawsuit filed by former college football and basketball players who claim that the three parties profited illegally off their likenesses. The NCAA’s decision to end its relationship with EA was seen as an attempt to distance itself from these allegations. However, CLC is sticking by its video game partner-in-alleged-crime.
“Throughout its relationship with EA, CLC has made clear and will continue to make clear, that the participating collegiate institutions are not granting — and have never granted — any license or rights to utilize the name, face, image or likeness of any athlete, whether a current or former student athlete,” said CLC in a statement. “The license granted is for use of the university’s, or conference’s or bowl’s name, logo and other identifying marks.
“In the future, though the game would be marketed under another name, each school will continue to maintain all approval rights for its individual trademarks, stadiums, uniforms, mascots, traditions, and other school-specific indicia in the game. EA will continue to be required to develop games that are in compliance with all applicable NCAA rules as per requirements in the EA trademark license agreement.”
While Polygon has no info on the title for the first of the NCAA-less games, ESPN reported earlier this week that it would simply be called “College Football 15.”