The news comes one year after EA filed a $27 million settlement in a class action lawsuit dating back to 2008, which also stipulated that EA could not renew its current exclusive license with NCAA, but could enter a new, non-exclusive agreement for its college football series. The payout for that lawsuit reportedly stalled in Appeals court this month.
"But given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA," the NCAA added. "The NCAA has never licensed the use of current student-athlete names, images or likenesses to EA." EA faced another lawsuit dating back to 2009 in which former Nebraska quarterback Samuel Keller alleged that EA adopted the likeness of student athletes for its college football games. A California court denied EA's motion for dismissal of the class-action suit in February 2010, and later in May 2012.
The suit was combined with a lawsuit from former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon against the NCAA, who claimed that the NCAA blocked "him and other former college athletes from getting paid for their likenesses in [EA Sports] videogames after they left college," according to Bloomberg.
We contacted EA for comment, and will update as we learn more.
Update: To clarify, the NCAA announced that it will not renew its contract with EA. We've updated accordingly.
Update 2: NPD analyst Liam Callahan tells Joystiq that "NCAA Football sales have been fairly stable over the past few years, with no steady declines. There were, however, fluctuations between growth and declines, which was likely to have been caused by consumers not purchasing every year."
Update 3: EA's Andrew Wilson issued a statement, noting that "EA Sports will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks."
Likewise, the Collegiate Licensing Company told Joystiq that it "continues to have a strong relationship with EA, and in representing our partner institutions anticipates participating in the launch of a new game next year that features the college teams, leagues and authentic innovation fans would expect from these games."