Sam Keller is among former NCAA athletes suing EA Sports. (Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Video game manufacturer Electronic Arts (EA) will not release a version of its college football game in 2014 due to litigation from current and former NCAA athletes' lawsuits concerning the use of their names and likenesses, the company announced on its website Thursday afternoon.
The NCAA announced in June that it would not renew its license with EA Sports. The 2014 version was to be the last featuring the NCAA name and marks.
The company is trying to settle the three lawsuits that have been filed against it by former athletes. Earlier this week EA filed documents with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to consider the two cases in which the company had suffered adverse rulings from separate federal appeals court judges.
Former Arizona State and Nebraska football player Sam Keller is engaged in a class-action against the NCAA, EA and the nation's leading collegiate trademark licensing firm, Collegiate Licensing Co., over the use of college athletes' names and likenesses in video games. Former Rutgers football player Ryan Hart and former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston are suing EA.
EA also is a co-defendant in an anti-trust case filed by a group of former and current college football and basketball players, including former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon.
From EA Sports:
"This is as profoundly disappointing to the people who make this game as I expect it will be for the millions who enjoy playing it each year," Cam Weber, the general manager of American football for EA Sports, wrote in statement posted on the company's website. The statement went on to say: "We have been stuck in the middle of a dispute between the NCAA and student-athletes who seek compensation for playing college football. Just like companies that broadcast college games and those that provide equipment and apparel, we follow rules that are set by the NCAA – but those rules are being challenged by some student-athletes. For our part, we are working to settle the lawsuits with the student-athletes. Meanwhile, the NCAA and a number of conferences have withdrawn their support of our game. The ongoing legal issues combined with increased questions surrounding schools and conferences have left us in a difficult position – one that challenges our ability to deliver an authentic sports experience, which is the very foundation of EA Sports games."