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Wednesday, February 10, 2010
NCAA Basketball game in jeopardy

By Mark Fainaru-Wada
ESPN.com

EA Sports announced Wednesday it has stopped development of its NCAA Basketball game, and a company statement said EA is "currently reviewing the future of our NCAA Basketball business."

Since signing a six-year contract with the NCAA's licensing arm in 2005, EA has generated more than $500 million in sales on its college football and basketball games -- though basketball has accounted for only about 10 percent of that figure. The EA statement said the company remained a "committed partner" with the NCAA, and a spokesman told ESPN that EA's NCAA Football remains strong and will be shipped this summer.

The announcement comes two days after a federal judge provided momentum to a pair of class-action lawsuits brought by former college athletes against EA and the NCAA. The lawsuits allege college athletes' likenesses are being used without their permission and compensation. Some experts believe a victory for the athletes could force a major shift in the NCAA.

The EA spokesman said the decision to halt development of its basketball game had "absolutely no relation" to the recent rulings in the legal cases.

Mark Fainaru-Wada is a reporter for ESPN's Enterprise Unit.