NCAA Football game series discontinued amidst lawsuit

11:20 PM, Jul 17, 2013   |    comments
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While college football fans are getting ready for another season to start, many were disappointed to learn Wednesday a popular college football video game will be discontinued.

The NCAA announced it will not renew its agreement with video game developer, EA Sports, to develop the video game NCAA Football.

Fan Joey Rutledge said he was disappointed by the move."I had no idea they were going to do that," he said.

The NCAA decided to step away from the game as it defends itself in a case that could rock the way it does business.

Currently, collegiate players do not receive any form of salary. Former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon is suing the NCAA over that matter.

He and other players argue the NCAA should not use student athletes' likenesses without paying them.

Some prominent East Tennessee lawyers believe the NCAA likely stepped away from the game due to that controversial issue.

Attorney and sports agent Terry Adams told 10News the NCAA's call is a game-changing move.

"For the NCAA to walk away from literally billions of future dollars with their agreement with EA sports, in the midst of this lawsuit, it tells a whole lot," he said.

Adams said it proves the NCAA is worried about the lawsuit.

"What you're going to see most likely is an absolutely unraveling of the NCAA," he said.

He said if the NCAA were to lose the case, it would have to dramatically restructure its relationship with its athletes. Inside Tennessee panelist and lawyer Don Bosch said he believe players could soon be paid too.

"I think frankly the NCAA sees that writing on the wall," he said.

He said athletes guard their likenesses' diligently.

"You know the old term, Google yourself and figure out who's using you to possibly market your product," he said.

The NCAA released the following statement on its website.  It did not directly mention the O'Bannon case:

"The NCAA has made the decision not to enter a new contract for the license of its name and logo for the EA Sports NCAA Football video game. The current contract expires in June 2014, but our timing is based on the need to provide EA notice for future planning. As a result, the NCAA Football 2014 video game will be the last to include the NCAA's name and logo. 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.

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."

EA Sports Executive Vice-President Andrew Wilson responded with the following on EA's website:

"By now, most fans will have heard that EA's licensing agreement with the NCAA is set to expire and that we have agreed to part ways. I'm sure gamers are wondering what this means. 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. 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, conferences and all the innovation fans expect from EA SPORTS. We took big creative strides with this year's college game and you'll see much more in the future. We love college football and look forward to making more games for our fans."

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