EA Settles NCAA Lawsuits, Won’t Make NCAA Football 15
Electronic Arts will not make a college football video game in 2014-15.
EA Sports just posted an official statement titled, “Update on College Football,” in which American Football GM Cam Weber says there will be no EA NCAA Football 15 published next year. In fact, there’s a chance that NCAA Football 14 will be the last college football game we see for a long time, as EA re-evaluates its future strategy for the franchise.
From the EA release (emphasis added):
Today I am sad to announce that we will not be publishing a new college football game next year, and we are evaluating our plan for the future of the franchise. This is as profoundly disappointing to the people who make this game as I expect it will be for the millions who enjoy playing it each year. I’d like to explain a couple of the factors that brought us to this decision.
We have been stuck in the middle of a dispute between the NCAA and student-athletes who seek compensation for playing college football. Just like companies that broadcast college games and those that provide equipment and apparel, we follow rules that are set by the NCAA – but those rules are being challenged by some student-athletes. For our part, we are working to settle the lawsuits with the student-athletes. Meanwhile, the NCAA and a number of conferences have withdrawn their support of our game. The ongoing legal issues combined with increased questions surrounding schools and conferences have left us in a difficult position – one that challenges our ability to deliver an authentic sports experience, which is the very foundation of EA SPORTS games.
Along with the suspension of the franchise, EA has also settled its lawsuit with current and former NCAA players. All of the plaintiffs (players) represented in the Ed O’Bannon anti-trust lawsuit have settled with EA and the College Licensing Company, leaving the NCAA as the only defendant in ongoing litigation. Financial terms have not yet been disclosed.
With EA and the CLC now out of the legal mix, the NCAA stands alone against the O’Bannon anti-trust suit. The college sports organization told USA Today that it would take its fight all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary, so this protracted legal battle should continue for some time to come.