Dominoes Falling as SEC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 Follow NCAA in Withdrawing from Involvement With Video Games

Posted August 14th, 2013 at 8:30 am


The SEC and Big Ten will no longer license their brands for college video games. The Pac-12 is now also out. The news comes about a month after the NCAA made the same decision.

That does not mean members of the three conferences will be gone from the newly renamed College Football 15 from EA Sports. Like with the NCAA it means there will be no references to or logos for the SEC, Big Ten, or Pac-12 in the game. The conferences would get made-up names.

The ramifications go beyond that however. The more parties that pull out the more others will examine whether they should as well. Other conferences could follow suit and the Big 12 reportedly is one on the fence. Once the cover of the NCAA and conferences are gone schools become even more exposed.

This does not prevent schools from individually negotiating their place in the game or being involved with the CLC which has the agreement with EA. It is another domino however in what reportedly has already caused some institutions to decide the money received for being in a video game it is not worth the risk of being sued down the line.

[Update] has some quotes from conferences and schools regarding their involvement. Numerous other conferences appear to be on the way out while Kentucky and Arkansas are making no assurances about their staying in video games.

  • Mark Britten

    This isn’t all that major unless and until an individual school pulls out.

    • BANE

      No, its pretty damn “major”. People want authenticity. Why do you think users spend HOURS inputting the names of all the players? Plus, it has to be only a matter of time before these schools DO drop out of the game.

      • Mark Britten

        I agree it’s perhaps only a matter of time, and given that since I made this post two more conferences have dropped out, I think it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

    • mikemck09

      lol How is one NCAA’s biggest conferences absence “not that major?” It’ll be more of a big deal if San Diego State pulls out, but not the whole SEC!?

      • Skihawks

        The SEC is not allowing its logo to be used. I could care less if the conference names are in. EA can input an option to rename conferences. The schools matter. If schools pull out we are screwed as gamers.

      • Mark Britten

        The schools are still in, for now. This literally (and I’m not misusing the word) only affects the name and logo of the SEC. They’ll just call the conference the “South 14” (to borrow an idea from someone on OS) and make a generic logo. Yeah, it might take away some level of immersion, but it’s not the same as a school pulling out. And this assumes no schools do.

        • rinodino

          1. NCAA BAILS
          2 Stanford and Kansas waffle on staying in the CLC
          3. SEC BAILS
          4. BIG 10 BAILS
          5. PAC 12 BAILS
          Trust me the schools are next, rumor has it already that some of the big 10 teams are next on the list. So you really think EA will make a game with the “midwest conference” and a team name “Southbend” vs “Big House Univ”?

          • Mark Britten

            I don’t disagree that if the schools start bailing then it’s game over, but until then there’s hope.

  • Ben

    They need to revamp TeamBuilder if schools end up leaving. Let you add up to 130 teams into a Dynasty or something, and have very close replica stadiums in Team Builder for the schools that are not in the game. Change a little, no logos or names, make them generic. Then we can at least just remake the teams as close as we can in Team Builder.

    • Keith.

      I said a few years ago on this site that Team Builder is a lawsuit waiting to happen. I’m not allowed to rob a bank, and I’m not allowed to give you a gun and have you acting as my agent to rob a bank either.

      If EA tried your idea after all the member schools bolt, you can be sure it wouldn’t be long until EA’s lawyers were receiving a cease and desist letter from the schools’ attorneys.

      • Iown You

        I hate that approach though, because it just slams the door on customizable football games which we desperately need now more than ever. Madden is about to literally be the only console football game on earth, and it’s a piece of garbage.

        Besides, any legal action would be dubious, frivolous even. Maximum Football and BackBreaker both allowed robust customization and its developers/publishers faced no legal action. At the end of the day, it’s tough to successfully sue a company as an outside party for what an end user does with an open-ended product. Customizable editors are just blank slates, so even if their intent is obvious by the standards of general common sense, it’s still not provable. The NCAA legal situation is different because EA left a trail of provable evidence of intent, some of it being blatant like the Ed O’Bannon and Tim Tebow situations.

        • Keith.

          5 years ago, any legal action may have looked dubious, frivolous even. But when you have EA and the NCAA getting beat down in the current player likeness litigation, and billions of dollars at stake, trust me, there will be copycat lawyers out there who’ll jump at the chance to be part of the next big thing.

          And remember, even BackBreaker didn’t allow you to edit things however you wanted. As a Steeler fan, I couldn’t create a team called the Pittsburgh Steelers, with a team full of current or ex-players, and take them online to play against someone else. Maybe NM could’ve defeated a lawsuit, had they allowed us to create without restrictions, but they (and most other companies) wouldn’t run that risk, even before the O’Bannon stuff got to where it is today.

          • Iown You

            The problem is that these lawyers are able to go to court and argue something in front of judges and arbitrators who don’t fully understand the intricacies of the situation, and there is a chance that if NM did allow what you mentioned they could lose in court even if what they did wasn’t really illegal to the letter of the law. I get that. Still, the fact that a suit can go through doesn’t make it any less dubious or frivolous, since the court system is flooded with cases like that, many of which go through successfully, unfortunately.

            NM was concerned that if people’s fully edited real teams were public online it would point back to them as being directly behind it. It’s a grey area, because while it’s not really illegal, it wouldn’t stop a lawyer from taking a shot at arguing it in front of a judge or arbitrator who doesn’t understand how this really works and convincing them it is infringement.

            I just don’t want to see customizable football games get taken off the table as a possibility in the future, because at the moment we’re down to just one game and it’s a crappy game at that. If a company wants to keep the customization offline then I’m all for it. I’d rather have something that can be used offline than to have nothing at all. Offline you should be able to go nuts, and online it should just remove the logos and prevent popular names from showing. I think some gamers would understand, they wouldn’t be happy but they would understand if it’s explained properly.

      • AndyMP

        Team Builder doesn’t infringe on any copyright. How can it? If somebody wants to use it to create their own teams in the privacy of their own home that’s ok as well. Now, if they then used a website to share those logos and trademarks then that could be an issue for the website concerned I guess, but I don’t believe Team Builder infringes on anyone’s copyright.

  • YellowJacket

    This is a big deal……the beginning of the end of college sports games could start here. When the biggest conference pulls its name out the other 4 big conferences will consider doing the same. At that point some schools might rethink allowing their names to be used. The threat of lawsuits is something universities want no part of.

  • Juukbox

    NCAA Football is dying right before our eyes…

  • Keith.

    Better get to work on that resume, Hamburglar!

    Like I’ve been saying, it’s only a matter of time.

    • Details

      Exactly Keith. Combine this with the fact that the game isn’t even selling that well now, it’s safe to say it’s a rap for college football.

      • Keith.

        Exactly. Low sales, combined with the NCAA, SEC, and I’m assuming other leagues and members schools to follow, all pointing their fingers at EA (“we never gave EA a license to use these guys’ likenesses”), and you can put a fork in NCAA Football, if not EA itself.

  • No more SEC Championship Game. Certain;y wouldn’t be shocked if other big name conferences start pulling out their conference brand as well. Next year’s game may look more like the old school college football title when all is said and done.

  • Keith.

    “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,” reads the SEC statement.”

    More passing of the buck to EA — gotta love it!

  • Details

    I said it before & I’ll say it again, NCAA 14 will be the last college football game EA makes. I’m not buying it that they will release College Football 15 next gen. They can say they’re already in development but they can easily pull out which they will. Too many hurdles & obsticles for EA to justify investing the money that would be needed to keep the game alive. EA saying they’re already working on the next game is just a PR marketing move. Remember you heard it here 1st folks. Rip college video game football. It’s been real……

    • rinodino

      Yep, I totally agree, that’s why I begged for the playoff option in this years game. As soon as we have a playoff in College football, it’s more than likely we won’t have a freakin’ game, SMDH

    • Keith.

      With the Pac-12 now joining the SEC and the Big Ten in pulling out of the game, it’s probably time to resurrect this July 17, 2013 quote from EA’s Andrew Wilson for posterity. Remember, this is the same knucklehead who unloaded a bunch of his EA stock in May, and then unloaded most if not the rest of it after this quote was given in July:

      “This is simple: EA SPORTS will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks. Our relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Company is strong and we are already working on a new game for next generation consoles which will launch next year and feature the college teams, conferences and all the innovation fans expect from EA SPORTS.”

  • Evan

    RIP College Sport videogaming… I think we all knew it would eventually come to this.

    • AndyMP

      The problem is that student athletes have long been taken for a ride. Some of the stupid rules – receiving a free ticket for an NBA game, taking money for an autographed item, etc. are when the whole time the NCAA has been making billions off of them. The NCAA is the party at fault here. If things change in the future and students athletes are rightly compensated, then a college football game could potentially return.

  • The Great Leon

    Like Porky Pig would say “That’s all folks. ”

    I will be down to just NBA 2k and maybe MLB the show. Stopped playing Madden long time ago. NCAA even with some flaws was my favorite game, just not into playing with generics.

  • The_gaming_Messiah

    Who’s ready for some Sega College Football National Championship?!!

  • Tino Wallace

    “Each school makes its own individual decision regarding whether or not
    to license their trademarks for use in the EA Sports game(s),” the SEC
    said in a statement. “The Southeastern Conference has chosen not to do
    so moving forward.

  • Details

    BIG 10 is out too! And so it begins…….

  • mikemck09

    This license garbage is going to be the death of sports gaming. It is really sad to that there is absolutely no college game out on the market come 2014. So basically there is going to be competition in Soccer gaming and Basketball gaming… Way to go greedy people out there, your lust for money has crippled the system.

  • Rfwill13

    The NCAA games have been out of my rotation for awhile now and this isn’t helping sell me on 2015. The conferences not being in it would take a lot of the feeling out of it and when schools start to drop out, It’s gonna be pointless. No one wants to play with a generic team/self created team with sorta similar jerseys.

  • Details

    Who would’ve thought 10 years ago that in 2014 we would have no college football game, no college basketball game, only one NFL football game, only one MLB game, only one NHL game, & NBA Live would be coming off a 3 year hiatus competing with only one other NBA game? Wow how times have changed smdh.

    • MoneyMayweather

      I agree ten years ago Sports gaming was in the golden age. there were Two games for every sport collegiate or pro even Arcade games too boot in 2003. The lust for money is real. Sports gaming got too big for it’s own good and the fall of sports gaming has begun. It all started in 2007 when 2k decided to stop making college basketball games and slowly but surely sports gaming is becoming extinct.

    • Keith.

      Credit to “ibrokeu” over at OS for finding this news:

      “University of Washington AD Scott Woodward says they won’t license to EA.”…ward-chat.html

      See ya later, Hamburglar —

  • Keith.

    edit: double post

  • jon white

    I have a feeling the conferences and member schools are a package deal. Folks it’s over for this game.

  • 2Degreesand6FIGUREPAY

    Maybe ea can keep updating the game an keep the servers on an update rankings on lol just a thought

  • joeCollege

    i would feel worse if the game had ever evolved into anything decent

  • MoneyMayweather

    So it’ll be like College football games in the mid 90s if EA is stead fast on bringing a game next year to xbox one and PS4. Where you just had city names and colors.

  • Dreneel

    EA needs to have a press conference then they need to start meeting with these schools ASAP… They need to move quick… Almost like selling a new product…IMO

    • EA has no control or leverage here. Schools will drop out if they deem the threat of litigation severe. And with the cover of the NCAA and conferences being pulled back there’s no reason to think many won’t feel that way and drop out too.

  • Sean

    This is really a sad day. Been playing NCAA since 2003. Still in shock how all this is going down…I always looked forward to NCAA in July.

  • clubsteve

    guess we should all make sure we have ncaa college football 14 and hope rosters can be updated by some dedicated roster makers……

  • Licenses expire. Can’t make updates after that point. Besides that it’s not fiscally responsible. You’re not increasing sales with updates that would justify the man hours and development costs of continuing it.

  • ghosts_in_a_well

    imagine buying College Football 15 and playing as the SED Alabama Burgany Wave

  • BoltThrower74

    Pasta, you catch any wind of ANY patches or tuners coming out? This no-huddle thing (PS3) is ridiculous…

    • Have asked but gotten no responses.

      • BoltThrower74

        Man, I hope EA doesn’t just wash their hands of ’14 since they have no vested interest anymore. So much that needs fixing. Thanks for the update!