EA Sports announced Thursday that it will not publish a college football game for 2014. This comes after the NCAA dropped its support for the NCAA Football due to litigation from former student-athletes.
"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," General Manager Cam Weber announced on the EA Sports website. "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 Meanwhile, the NCAA and a number of conferences have withdrawn their support of our game.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."
EA Sports previously stated that a strong relationship with College Licensing Company would allow it to continue to make college football titles. Clearly though, schools and conferences were worried about how the pending lawsuit with the NCAA could effect them. How long college football will stay out of the video game waters is the question now.
The NCAA chose not to renew its license agreement with EA Sports citing the litigation costs associated with a lawsuit brought forth by former UCLA star Ed O'Bannon and other former college athletes. The litigants claim that the NCAA and EA Sports colluded to prevent athletes from being paid while their likenesses were used to sell the games. The NCAA stands to not only lose a substantial amount of money in the antitrust law if it is expanded to include all former athletes but faces the likelihood that college athletes would be forced to lose their amateur status so they could be compensated.
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