The NCAA said Wednesday it won't allow Electronic Arts Inc. to use its logo and name in video games while it fights a lawsuit that says the governing body owes billions of dollars to former players for allowing their likenesses to be used for free.
The NCAA said it won't enter into a new contract with EA Sports beyond the current one that expires June 2014. That means "NCAA Football 2014" will be the last edition of the popular game. However, it won't necessarily stop EA Sports from producing a college football video game depicting powerhouse schools such as Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon.
"Member colleges and universities license their own trademarks and other intellectual property for the video game," the NCAA said in a statement. "They will have to independently decide whether to continue those business arrangements in the future."
The NCAA is in the midst of a long legal battle that started with a lawsuit filed by former UCLA men's basketball star Ed O'Bannon.
The suit has expanded to include former athletes who claim the NCAA and Redwood City-based EA Sports have used their names and likenesses without compensation and demand the NCAA find a way to give players a cut of the billions earned from broadcasts, memorabilia and games.
"We are confident in our legal position regarding the use of our trademarks in video games," the NCAA said. "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."