The NCAA Will Not Renew Their EA Contract

The NCAA, the body that oversees collegiate sports, has announced in a press release today that it will not renew its licensing agreement with EA Sports. The agreement gave EA the rights to use the NCAA name and logo on its NCAA Football series of sports titles. As the NCAA says in the aforementioned press release, “Given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA.”

This comes in the wake of the lawsuit brought by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and others in 2009, in which the former players allege that the NCAA and EA Sports profited from the use of their likeness. The case is currently bogged down as it seeks certification as a class-action suit.

So, does that mean that EA’s college football franchise is ending? Well, maybe not.

You see, the licensing of college team names, logos, and whatnot is handled by a company called the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC). The contract between EA and CLC is wholly separate from the NCAA contract, which only granted EA the right to use the NCAA name and logo on the cover of the game. If the CLC is willing to continue their contracts with EA, it’s likely that this will be a very minor hiccup, necessitating only that EA rename the series to “College Football 2015″ or something similar.

Even in the unlikely event that the CLC won’t renew the EA contract (something that I personally can’t imagine), it’s still possible that EA could continue the series by individually negotiating licensing deals with schools and / or conferences.

It’s all up in the air right now, but I’d expect someone from EA or CLC to step up soon and comment, just to clear the air. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Info in this post via Kotaku

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