NCAA Severs Ties With EA Sports

USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA is ending its relationship with EA Sports, meaning that this year's game will be the last NCAA-branded edition in the series. To be clear, this doesn't mean EA Sports is gonna stop making college football video games. EA issued a direct statement on that matter:

"This is simple: EA Sports will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks," said Wilson, executive vice president of EA Sports. "Our relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Company is strong and we are already working on a new game for next-generation consoles which will launch next year and feature the college teams, leagues and all the innovation fans expect from EA Sports."

EA will still be able to use schools' names, logos, uniforms, etc. It'll just have a different title, is all.

What's really interesting about this is what it may say about the NCAA's ongoing fight against the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit. O'Bannon's antitrust suit seeks compensation for the NCAA's use of current and former players' likenesses, and the video game was/is a major part of the case. (See this for example.) O'Bannon and company are trying to get class certification, and if they get that and then subsequently win their case, the NCAA could be forced to pay a shit ton of damages. There would be enormous repercussions throughout major college athletics.

That's all years down the line, but the NCAA's decision to cut ties with EA Sports is fascinating for its possible implications regarding the governing body's mindset. Ed O'Bannon got 'em runnin' scared, man.

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