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NCAA Not Renewing its Exclusive License Agreement With EA Sports After 2014

The NCAA announced major news concerning the exclusive license agreement with EA, they have official cut ties with EA sports and will not renegotiate its license deal with them. Lawyers have file suit against the NCAA and EA in belief that the NCAA is illegally profiting from the likeness of current student Athletes in EA-Published games.

The Law firm Hagens Berman and Co-Lead counsel along with other former college athletes has filed a class-action lawsuit against NCAA and EA, alleging that NCAA has used there likeness without permission. Players claim that both NCAA and EA conspired to gain without compensation to players, In contrast Electronic Arts has paid the NFL Players Union nearly $35 million each year for the use of players names and likenesses for their NFL games. A statement regarding the NCAA’s decision to discontinue its licensee EA published Football games after current agreement expires in 2014. Down below is a statement released abut the NCAA’s decision.NCAA X logo

“It’s apparent to us that the NCAA’s decision to end its long and hugely profitable relationship with EA is tied directly to the pressure our litigation is bringing the bear.

“Our suit illustrates how the cabal between the NCAA and EA has exploited student athletes for years, using their images in video games without compensation. While we are heartened they’ve stopped the practice, we believe they owe those student athletes a great deal more than their implied promise to stop stealing their images.

“This announcement makes plain that the NCAA is attempting to mitigate the damage by ducking its responsibilities. We look forward to taking this case to trial and winning compensation for student-athletes whose likenesses were used without their permission, in violation of both the NCAA’s rules and the law.”

More information about this case is available at: http://www.hbsslaw.com/cases-and-investigations/cases/ncaavideogames

Former Student Athlete Sam Keller who was starting quarterback for ASU and Univ. of Nebraska Football, has been a representative for all NCAA football and Basketball players, that listed on the official roster for schools that are included in any game produced by Electronic Arts.

The case was original filed May 5, 2009 in the U.S. District Court, District of Northern California, Judge Claudia Wilken then appointed Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro as co-lead class counsel.Wilken also ordered Hagans Bemam co-lead counsel Hausfeld to direct the litigation among co-counsel. The Court also consolidated plaintiffs represented in the lawsuit against both companies. On Feb 8, 2010 developments surface in the class-action lawsuit against the NCAA and EA. Judge Claudia Wilken denied the motion EA and NCCA both made to dismiss the case. Instead the class-action lawsuit moved forward and the two companies would have to prove they did not use college players ‘likeness in its NCAA game franchise.

EA went on to unsuccessfully argued its protection under the first amendment and the freedom of creative expression for their highly successful NCAA-branded video games, and Judge Wilken rejected EA’s argument, siding that the allegations made by Sam Keller had merit

After going through all the facts and legal mumbo jumbo its official, EA no longer has the exclusive rights to make College games. This is a win for the sports gaming community, for years they have been voicing their opinions about EA and NCAA’s partnership, and how it was hurt the sports game genre. It’s good to see that other publishers will now have the opportunity to make a NCAA sports game whether it is Football or Basketball.

You can say that EA has brought this down on themselves the minute they made this deal with the NCAA, with no competition the spot light was directly on them to produce a great game year in and year out. And to be honest they couldn’t do it, fans where becoming inpatient with rehash versions of last year’s games, and eventually the NCAA would have cut ties with EA due to poor sales and fan outcries. In the end sports gaming fans got what they wanted and that’s to end the monopoly EA had over the College sports game genre.

 

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