The NCAA has announced it will no longer be in the game.
You know, of course, about the interesting and uncertain lawsuit brought forth by Ed O’Bannon that targets the way people profit off student-athletes without ever benefiting the student athletes. We don’t really know which way that’s going to go, and the NCAA would have to be included among “we” in this case. Yet the NCAA — no longer “we” as we move forward — would seem to have reservations.
We are confident in our legal position regarding the use of our trademarks in video games. But given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA.
So what now? Well, that’s not really up to the NCAA, nor has it ever been. It sounds as though future participation and representation will be a matter of individual institutional preference.
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. Member colleges and universities license their own trademarks and other intellectual property for the video game. They will have to independently decide whether to continue those business arrangements in the future.
There will be no mention of the NCAA, so it’ll likely just be EA Sports College Football 15, or something like that, but with the NCAA gone, do the schools, or especially the conferences, seize the moment and raise the cost of doing business?