R.I.P. NCAA Football. EA Sports confirms no college football game next year
Hold on to those copies of NCAA Football 14, folks. As a result of the "ongoing dispute between the NCAA and student-athletes who seek compensation for playing college football," Electronic Arts has confirmed they will not be publishing a new college football game next year. This is a direct reversal on what the company said back in July when the NCAA announced it would not be renewing its contract with EA Sports.
"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," EA Sports GM of American Football, Cam Weber, said.
He offered the following explanation:
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 Meanwhile, the NCAA and a number of conferences have withdrawn their support of our game.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.
At EA SPORTS, college football has always been a labor of love, and it is unfortunate that these business and legal issues have impacted our ability to make next year’s game. This franchise has been developed by a team that is deeply committed to the tradition and culture of this sport – that’s why fans have always loved it. We are working to retain the talented people who are part of the team by placing them elsewhere within the EA SPORTS organization.
As a long time fan of the NCAA Football franchise, I'm sad to see it go out like this; although, I'm hard-pressed to say I didn't see this coming -- even though EA vowed it would continue to make college football games. With several football conferences unwilling to lend their licenses and with many top-tier schools presumably ready to follow suit, any time of football game created would hardly resemble the current college atmosphere.
Weber said the company is currently "evaluating our plan for the future of the franchise" so hopefully this whole dispute gets resolved and an agreement is formed that will eventually allow EA to continue with the franchise.