College football: Conferences follow lead of NCAA on video games

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The Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference are following the NCAA’s lead and will no longer allow EA Sports to use league logos in its college football video games.

The NCAA announced last month that it will no longer allow Electronic Arts Inc. to use its logo starting next year. The move comes as the NCAA fights a high-profile lawsuit that says the governing body owes millions of dollars to former players for allowing their likenesses to be used for free.

ESPN first reported that the SEC would end its licensing agreement with EA, and a spokesman confirmed that yesterday. Spokesmen for the Big Ten and Pac-12 say their conferences also will not renew agreements.

The conference contracts do not cover individual schools, which can sign their own licensing deals. That would allow EA to have games depicting top-level football programs, such as Alabama from the SEC, Ohio State from the Big Ten and Oregon from the Pac-12. The games would not be able to make any mention of their conferences.

Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon is the lead plaintiff among 16 former college athletes in the long-running legal battle that could fundamentally alter how the NCAA operates.

Notable

• Tom Savage has been selected to start at quarterback for Pittsburgh when it opens the season against Florida State on Sept. 2 in its first Atlantic Coast Conference game, coach Paul Chryst said.

• Virginia Tech and Penn State have agreed to play a home-and-home series beginning in 2022.

Barring a bowl matchup in the interim, the teams will meet for the first time in Blacksburg, Va., on Sept. 17, 2022, and again in State College, Pa., on Sept. 16 the following season.

• The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is being bought by ESPN. Bowl officials said that the network had agreed to acquire the bowl game from the Humanitarian Bowl Inc. Details of the deal were not released. The Potato Bowl would be the eighth bowl game to be owned and operated by ESPN.

The game features teams from the Mid-American Conference and the Mountain West Conference. It is played in Boise, Idaho.

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