College football’s Big Ten, Pacific-12, and Southeastern Conference divisions have all chosen not to allow EA Sports to use their names in 2014’s edition of NCAA Football, the USA Today reports. Other conferences, both major and mid-major, are still considering their next step. The decisions follow the NCAA’s recent refusal to renew the licensing agreement it had with the publisher. Once EA Sports no longer had blanket access to the colleges represented by the NCAA, as well as the organization’s name and logo, it fell to the individual conferences and schools to decide whether or not to sign licensing agreements of their own.
“Each school makes its own individual decision regarding whether or not to license their trademarks for use in the EA Sports game[s],” a spokesman for the SEC said in a statement given to ESPN. “The Southeastern Conference has chosen not to do so moving forward.
“Neither the SEC, its member universities, nor the NCAA have ever licensed the right to use the name or likeness of any student to EA Sports.”
The Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Mountain West, Conference USA, and Sun Belt Conference are all said to be evaluating the situation as well, but no decision has been made.
While losing the conferences that are home to winners of the last seven national championships might seem like a major blow, you may still see teams like Alabama, Oregon, and Ohio State in 2014’s game. Even without the support of the actual conferences, the individual colleges may still sign their own licensing deals and appear. Bowl Games should remain as well.
Part of the reason for the decision by the three conferences is likely down the lawsuits EA Sports is currently fighting over the alleged use of likeness of college players without approval. The biggest of the lawsuits began in 2009 with Ed O’Bannon, a former Pac-12 college basketball player at UCLA, who has since been joined by several others to turn the case into a class-action suit.
Others lawsuits, including one by former Rutgers quarterback Ryan Hart, and another by former Arizona State and Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller, are also ongoing.
We reached out to EA for comment, and will update this article as needed.