The next edition of EA Sports' embattled college football series will lose only one school from a lineup of more than 120 next year, though two conferences will stop licensing their trademarks to the game, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter. The Southeastern Conference, which yesterday told ESPN it would opt out, will in fact appear in this game.
The university, which was not identified, will be the only team that appeared in this year's NCAA Football 14 but will not appear in the next edition of the game. The source said EA Sports intends to release a list naming all of its licensing partners for next year's edition of the game soon. Our source has seen that list.
This source said the Pac-12 and the Big Ten will not appear as licensed conferences, consistent with statements those two conferences gave to media yesterday. However, the SEC will return, despite a statement it gave to ESPN yesterday that the league would no longer license its trademarks to video games.
That statement was apparently made prematurely. The SEC's licensing agreement calls for it to appear in EA Sports' next college football video game (which must be renamed because the NCAA itself has opted out.) The SEC is said to be honoring that agreement.
[Clarification: Originally this article said the SEC had renewed its agreement with EA Sports. The SEC has said, per ESPN's Kristi Dosh, that it has not renewed its license and that it will finish out the year of its contract. That year could extend through the July 2014 release of EA Sports' next college football game.]
A conference's appearance in the video game is a different thing from its membership's appearances. Individual universities make the decision whether to license their trademarks to a video game, or to any product. A conference withdrawing means its logos, name and features such as an official championship game must be removed from the game.
The decision to opt out of video game licensing is widely seen as motivated by ongoing litigation brought by former players who say their likenesses are used without their permission or compensation in video games and other products.
The lone holdout university, according to our source, is not Washington—whose athletics director today told a Seattle Times live chat that his department would recommend the university not renew its agreement. Evidently Washington has also renewed for at least one year more to appear in EA Sports' college series.
Additionally, this source said that two universities in the second-tier Football Championship Subdivision have told EA Sports they wanted for their symbols to be removed from the TeamBuilder web application the game uses to allow players to create custom teams. That request will be honored.
This list of licensors is due to be released "soon," but may not be coming later this evening.