In a release that should surprise absolutely nobody, EA Sports
has stated, officially, that there will not be a release of the NCAA Football
franchise for next year and, perhaps, ever again.
This stems from the pending litigation between Ed O'Bannon and Sam Keller vs. NCAA and EA Sports. There was a glimmer of hope almost immediately after NCAA Football 14
was released in that a deal could possibly be struck between all of the conferences and teams on an individual basis and the game could be re-branded as just "College Football 15" in hopes of keeping the franchise alive.
Cam Weber, who is the general manager of American football for EA Sports
, stated on the company's 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."
The rest of the statement goes on to explain what has been happening between the two parties in the lawsuit with the following message:
"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 Meanwhile, the NCAA and a number of conferences have withdrawn their support of our game.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."
The issue, of course, is the ongoing argument regarding the payment of players for use of their likeness, from DVDs, jersey sales, and, of course, use in video games. While professional sports titles do not have this issue, simply because of the players' associations that represent them, the world of college sports has always been a murky one with how the deal has worked between the NCAA and EA Sports.
It has not been a great year for the publishing giant. Earlier in the year, they lost a case involving payment of royalties on the Madden franchise, have suffered through layoffs, and now the college sports litigation. 2014 is shaping up to be a year to forget for Electronic Arts.