When word leaked out that the newest additions to the upcoming EA Sports NCAA Football 2013 lineup would include UMass, Texas State and UT-San Antonio but not South Alabama, a heated reaction ensued from Jaguar fans. As outlined by guest writer Jon Garcia here at JagsJungle.com (EA Sports Drops the Ball), this exclusion made no sense as USA was in the same stage of FBS development as UMass and TxSt, a year ahead of UTSA, and had announced their timetable for advancement years before all three.
After the only reaction to a variety of inquiries to EA Sports by JagsJungle.com and several committed fans was a vague reference to schedules being unconfirmed, USA Athletic Director Joel Erdmann began a dialogue with their management in which, it has been reported, the company admitted that the ommission of South Alabama was the result of an oversight on their part in not realizing that the Jaguars were in their final year of FBS transition. As a result, this communication was received by the South Alabama administration earlier today:
From EA Sports
As a gesture of good will, we are going to roll out the red carpet for
South Alabama Jaguars in 2014. We are going to go above and beyond what
we typically do for a new FBS school. In 2014 we are going to do the
following to make sure South Alabama is reflected as realistically as
possible in NCAA Football 2014. This is the kind of treatment we
normally reserve for the biggest and highest profile teams in the
EA Sports is going to travel to South Alabama this year and wants to
collect some reference and meet with the football coaches and athletic
department to try and make South Alabama’s first year in NCAA Football
extra special. Here’s a list of what the EA Sports NCAA Football team
wants to do for South Alabama for inclusion in the 2014 game:
1. During one of the games this upcoming year, EA Sports will
videotape the team and cheerleader run-out onto the field at the start
of a game so that we can try and replicate the run out and make it as
realistic as possible.
2. EA Sports will perform a Crowd Recording of a South Alabama
game this year and use that recording to replicate the stadium sound
effects and crowd chants in the game.
3. EA Sports also wants to 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
talk about at the start of each game.
4. EA Sports will be adding the South Alabama mascot “South
Paw” into the game so South Paw will be on the sidelines during games
and also be included in the “Mascot Mash-Up” game mode.
5. EA Sports wants to meet with the South Alabama football
coaches to replicate the South Alabama playbook and make it as realistic
as possible to what the team uses during the 2014 season.
6. Last, EA SPORTS is already looking into licensing the rights
to use Ladd Peebles Stadium so EA can perform a “Stadium Scan” of
the stadium and get the most authentic South Alabama stadium possible
into the 2014 NCAA Football game.
While being in the game in 2013 would have been another milestone in USA football history, the results of this situation have probably done more to advance the noteriety of the school than anything else has since the program was announced in 2009. Dozens of articles were written on blogs and websites, including CBSsports.com and Yahoo.com, gaming message boards and Facebook pages have been inundated with references to this error, and now, finally, EA Sports has offered to give USA a much better platform for the program in their 2014 game than most schools in the non-BCS level.
This event has been a seminal one for Jag fans, particularly a dedicated group that post on the JagsJungle.com message boards. United by a common cause, they refused to let the issue go unnoticed or forgotten. Undoubtedly the pressure they helped create was a great assistance to Dr. Erdmann as he pursued a just response from EA Sports.
Great job, JagJungle denizens.