EA Sports, the publisher of the NCAA Football video game franchise, informed the University of South Alabama that they would make up for their oversight in leaving the Jaguars out of the 2013 edition of the game.
About two weeks ago EA released a preview of the game and, much to South Alabama fan’s dismay, the Jaguars had been left out. South Alabama, who made it known all the way back in 2009 that they were going to take the most immediate route from program inception to joining the FBS division of sports. However the University of Texas-San Antonio, Texas State and UMass were all included in this years game even though they announced their transition to FBS after South Alabama.
This set off a bit of a firestorm from South Alabama fans. They took their complaint online to websites and social media only to be rebuffed with a short statement from their communication manager.
“South Alabama was a provisional member of FBS last year and did not play a full FBS schedule. We did not receive confirmation that they were changing to a full FBS schedule this year until it was too late for inclusion in NCAA Football 13. South Alabama will be included in NCAA Football 14.“
Their cries of #FreeSouthAlabama were heard and posted about by many other websites mentioned in a previous article on this website.
EA Sports officials have contacted the University officials and administrators and has informed them that the Jaguars are going to be part of NCAA Football 14 with a list of extras.
- EA Sports will video the team and cheerleaders running out onto the field and will try to replicate the run out as make it as realistic as possible.
- EA Sports will record the crowd at a South Alabama game this year and use that to replicate the stadium sound effects and crowd chants.
- EA Sports will work closely with the South Alabama athletic department in developing the South Alabama team introductions that ESPN announcers Brad Nessler, Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit will voice at the start of each Jaguar game.
- EA Sports will be adding South Paw into the game and have him on the sidelines during the game. He will also be part of the “Mascot Mash-Up” game mode included in the game.
- EA Sports wants to meet with the Jaguar Football coaches to replicate the playbook and make it as realistic as possible to match what the team uses during the 2014 season.
- EA Sports is already looking into licensing the rights to use Ladd-Peebles Stadium so they can perform a “Stadium Scan” and get the most authentic stadium for South Alabama’s home.
These things are typically reserved for “the biggest and highest profile teams in the country” not just the latest school on the FBS block. If this does not get your heart pounding, then you may need a defibrillator because your heart just skipped a beat (like mine).
The fans did a great job continuing to keep this story going and EA listened.
But just as importantly, thanks to EA Sports for recognizing this oversight and going above and beyond what many expected to rectify the situation. Now the South Alabama family can help lobby to get that video of the team running out onto the field included as part of the opening montage.
If someone at EA is reading this, the mock-up cover with Kendall Houston would make an awesome cover for NCAA Football 14, or at least a great special edition for South Alabama fans. I would fork over some extra cash for it. It might even be a great fundraiser for charity.
Several writers around the nation who cover College Football have written posts about NCAA Football ’13 set to release next month by EA Sports and how South Alabama is missing while UTSA, Texas State and UMass are all three included. South Alabama trustees voted on December 6, 2007 to add football and then hired Joey Jones to be the first coach on February 15, 2008 and played their first game in 2009.
However in 2009, they announced they were taking the most expedient route available under NCAA rules to become a full member of the FBS division of football. The three other schools only recently announced their intentions of moving up to the FBS level and will be classified the same as South Alabama.
An EA Sports communication manager Julie Foster said, “South Alabama was a provisional member of FBS last year and did not play a full FBS schedule. We did not receive confirmation that they were changing to a full FBS schedule this year until it was too late for inclusion in NCAA Football 13. South Alabama will be included in NCAA Football 14.” Further clarification was not made, however.
But this has left a sour taste in the mouth of many South Alabama fans. Many, like myself, have looked forward for over three and a half years to see our school among the storied programs of Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, USC and Oklahoma in a video game. Unfortunately, we have to wait yet another year and it was not the fault of our school. It was a complete blunder by EA Sports.
Among those who have written about this are Kevin McGuire, Sports Video Game Examiner; Jason Kirk, College Football Editor and co-host of Shutdown Fullback at SBNation (first and second articles); Graham Watson at Dr. Saturday a Yahoo! Sports Blog and one of my favorite writers, Holly Anderson with Sports Illustrated put it in her Weekend Whimsy. (By the way, it wasn’t a paperwork issue either).
But fans have not stopped there, they are attempting to get EA’s attention by tweeting with the hashtag #FreeSouthAlabama. While I don’t work in the game development world, I do work in the field of software and studied game development (a little). I doubt they can add us to the game that will be shipped out next month, but us in Jag Nation hope that we will be included with an online update at least. But the last thing I want is a half-hearted attempt to stuff us in the game.
EA highly disappointed me and they disappointed all of us in the South Alabama family. I hope this will be rectified in the next edition, a very long year from now. But there are seniors on this years squad who will not get to see their number out on the field wearing the Jaguar Red, White and Blue. It’s those guys who I feel for. Some of them came to South when there wasn’t a football field house. They came on a vision and will be leaving a program that is well on it’s way to great heights. It’s already something special.
Phil Steele, the College Football Preview magazine, has released their preview of the South Alabama Jaguars with a nice section promoting it on the front page of their website. They dedicate a full two pages for their review unlike other publications who, if they even include the Jags yet, may have a couple paragraphs dedicated to them.
They have a great write-up about the team. Go download your copy and enjoy it for yourself.
South Alabama alum and avid support like myself Jon Garcia posted the following on Facebook this evening.
“So, it was found out today that South is not included in the coming release of the NCAA 13 football video game that is extremely popular (http://www.landgrantholyland.com/2012/6/6/3067170/ohio-state-overall-e3-ncaa-football-13-team-ratings), but UTSA, Texas St, and UMASS are. All 4 of us are new to FBS this year, yet South is the only one that was left out. There is apparently some confusion as to why.
With someone supposedly in the know stating that South “did not get its paperwork in on time” whatever that means. South announced FBS plans before any of those schools mentioned above.
I don’t know if they have enough time to add South Alabama and do a good job. But hopefully they will pay very close attention to us for next year’s release or maybe add us with an online update later.
UPDATE 2012-06-08: Apparently the supposed person “in the know” is not really in the know. So I struck out the information included from said person.
A video was posted online of the question and answer session with Coach Jones before the DEX Imaging L’Arche Football Preview Thursday night at the Mitchell Center.
When asked about the status of the Jaguars Division-I transfers, he said that Brandon Bridge (quarterback) will not be eligible. Bridge is a transfer from Alcorn State and the NCAA did not grant a waiver. The Jags are still waiting to hear about the eligibility of offensive lineman James Elliot, who came from Kentucky and applied for immediate eligibility.
Coach Jones said that almost all of the incoming class are enrolled this summer, except for “about two or three” he said.
A question was asked about the players work in the weight room and how this year’s work will be as important as anything they do. Coach Jones said that, number one, they try to prevent injuries with their offseason strength and conditioning. Number two, they have to develop their athletes. He continued by saying that the other schools they will be facing have been Division-I programs for a long time and that this year will be the Jags first season as a Division-I school. This is their first “Division-I signing class.” They have to develop these players and move them along in the process. “If they’re 260 pounds, they need to be 285. We’ve got to have them at 285. It’s vital if we’re going to have a chance to compete.”
Q: Are you going to plug Jake Johnson (Senior Linebacker) for the Senior Bowl when you talk with Phil Savage (Senior Bowl Executive Director) tonight?
Jones: “No doubt. I certainly don’t make those decisions, but we’re excited about the possibilities of our players having a chance to play in the Senior Bowl.”
Q: What do you think of the changes in the Sun Belt?
Jones: “There’s a lot of shake up out there and everybody is trying to grab and pick, and conferences are grabbing and picking teams here and there. A couple of our teams, FIU and North Texas are going to Conference USA. So, therefore, we’ve gotten Georgia State and Texas State with Dennis Franchione and Bill Curry. With those guys, they’re goign to be good football programs. And with the Atlanta market you would think Georgia State’s going to be a threat down the road and with Franchione out there at Texas State they’ll get going as well. So it’s good to have both of them.”
On the video, which you can view below, he answers the following questions.
Q: Between now and August, what are your priorities and what do you hope to accomplish?
Jones: “First of all, I want our coaches to get away from about a week, this week. The kids came to summer school Tuesday and we made sure they all got settled in and got on the right track. Made sure they got with the people they needed to get with to get in class and got to know the strength coach and that type of thing. Then we have camps. Our goal with the camps is obviously to get as many kids in camp as we can and hopefully as many prospects in camp as we can so we can evaluate them and get to know them personally. Hopefully get to know their parents if they come into town and kind of get an unofficial visit type situation. It’s also a chance for them to see our facilities and see our university and the city of Mobile. We feel like if they come here to Mobile we’ve got a chance to get them. Even though our name is getting out there to households – we went down to Miami and people know us – we’ve still got to get kids on campus and let them see South Alabama. Just the name itself is not what some of the other names are right now, so we need to get them on campus. Once they see that, they see that we’re for real and we have a much better shot.”
Q: What’s your opinion on playoffs to determine the NCAA Football Champion? Do you support a four-team playoff?
Jones: “That’s something I think they needed. It’s something, a four-team playoff, that I always thought would be perfect. I think you have 1 against 4 and 3 against 2 in bowl games or wherever; they may be at home fields or whatever they decide to do – (but) having a semifinal-type situation and later a national championship game a week later, I always thought it would be a great thing for college football and I think that’s going to happen.”
Q: Do you favor playing the games at neutral sites or on campuses?
Jones: “I would vote for on campus. Crowd-wise, that’s going to create a much more electric atmosphere. If you go to a neutral site, sometimes that doesn’t work. So I think the home site would be a much better situation.”
Q: Why do you advocate student-athletes entering school the summer prior to the fall football season?
Jones: “A couple things, it gives the kid a chance to know the campus and to get acclimated academically. Then number two, obviously to get acclimated from a football standpoint. Also with that, get to know our players, over the course of the summer make some friends and get some mentors that they can count on. Lastly, having them in summer school gets them to graduate on time or early. If they graduate early, they can get started working on their masters before they leave here.”
This will be the fourth season for the Jaguars football team, and the second in their two-year transition into full FBS membership.