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NCAA cuts EA Sports ties

– Hang on to NCAA Football 2014, all you video game fans. It will be a collector’s edition.

The NCAA said Wednesday it will no longer allow Electronic Arts Inc. to use its logo starting next year. The move ends a lucrative business deal with the gaming industry giant and comes as the NCAA fights a high-profile lawsuit that says the governing body owes billions of dollars to former players for allowing their likenesses to be used for free.

The NCAA said it won’t seek a new contract with EA Sports, which manufactures the popular game, beyond the current one that expires in June 2014. However, that won’t stop EA Sports from producing a college football video game depicting powerhouse schools like Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon, and the Redwood City, Calif.-based company made that clear.

“EA Sports will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks,” said Andrew Wilson, executive vice president. “Our relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Co. 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.”

The company reported $3.8 billion in net revenue during its last fiscal year and, aside from its NCAA Football franchise, is well known for Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer and other games.

It could not immediately be determined exactly how much of what EA makes from NCAA football goes back to the NCAA and its members in licensing deals.

The NCAA is in the midst of a legal battle that started with a lawsuit filed by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon after he was shown a video game with an avatar playing for the Bruins that played a lot like him.

The anti-trust lawsuit also names EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company that handles trademark licensing for dozens of schools, the NCAA and various conferences.

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