About a month ago, the NCAA announced that it would no longer license its logos and trademarks to EA for its line of football video games. It didn't preclude conferences or schools from licensing their stuff to EA; it just means that you won't see "NCAA" anywhere on future games.
Today, the SEC has announced that it is following suit:
"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.
The reason is simple. The Ed O'Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA, Collegiate Licensing Company, and EA is getting serious, and it's expensive to pay lawyers to defend yourself. The SEC is not a defendant in the case, but this move shows that it really doesn't want to become a defendant in future lawsuits if at all possible. Part of its statement today was a reminder that the SEC doesn't license the rights to use player names or likenesses to EA.
EA put out a press release after the NCAA's decision went public indicating that it will continue to make college sports games. The CLC is the organization that handles marketing for logos and trademarks for schools, and EA said has a "strong" relationship with it. The likely outcome is that, unless schools get scared as ask out, future games will feature a 14-team conference with all of the SEC schools in it but with some kind of generic name. Southern Fried Conference, or some such nonsense, here we come.
If you have a better generic name for the SEC, let's hear it in the comments. And here's some additional food for thought:
This will help turn public opinion further toward NCAA allowing players to profit off publicity rights. Would be advantageous to the SEC.— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) August 14, 2013