The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association: the governing body that monitors and polices all college sports activities) today announced they were not renewing their contract with EA Sports. The contract was about to expire in June of next year, and the NCAA simply decided not to renew it.
As a result, the NCAA Football franchise is dead. It’s important to note, however, that this does not mean the college football game as we know it is dead.
On the contrary, this contract between the NCAA and EA Sports was only for the NCAA brand and the official NCAA symbol (a blue ball). EA Sports still has a contract with the CLC (Collegiate Licensing Company), which allows them to use all the various collegiate teams, mascots, and anything else that goes into an NCAA game.
EA Sports was quick to respond with this message to ESPN, putting to rest any questions about future college football titles. Sources are also reporting that next year’s game will simply be titled College Football 15:
EA Sports will still have college football video game beyond 2014, just won’t be affiliated w/NCAA
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 17, 2013
In July of last year, we learned that EA Sports was going to lose its NCAA license after a $27 million settlement, but most assumed EA and the NCAA would simply sign a new contract. That’s obviously not the case.
So, while NCAA Football 14 – a somewhat disappointing iteration in the long-running franchise – will now become the “last of its name,” this presumably won’t be the last we see of college football. In fact, if the NCAA were to sign a contract with a new publisher, we might see an NCAA Football game developed and published under a new banner. But before you get too excited about the possibility of a 2K Sports developed football game, know that, last we heard, they were not interested in getting back into that sport.
This is an interesting time for the entire EA Sports banner, as gamers gear up for new consoles and (hopefully) better game experiences. Madden, FIFA, and UFC are already getting the next-gen treatment, so it’s only a matter of time before college sports get the upgrade as well. That is, if EA Sports plans to continue with college football after 2014.
Although we suspect EA won’t part with the genre just yet, this might be just the time for a clean break. For a while now, the NCAA franchise has been running a year behind Madden like the younger child forced to wear second-hand clothes. Any time Madden got a new mechanic, feature, or graphical upgrade, NCAA fans had to wait a full year to see the same feature hit their game.
Occasionally, NCAA would outdo its big brother, but those instances were few and far between. And with the cost of games what they are today, only fans of the NCAA brand would choose it over Madden.
What do you make of the NCAA not renewing their contract with EA Sports? Would you like to see another developer take a shot at a college football game? Should EA Sports call it quits on college football?