Column: How the ‘NCAA Football’ video game spurs my love for sports | All OU Sports | Instant News


Editor’s Note: This week, Transcript staff write a column about anything in their lives that serves as the entrance to sports.

For a moment, there was hope.

Soon, the NCAA will allow college-student athletes to take advantage of their name, image, and appearance. It feels like a big win not only for players but a small group of vocal nerds, like me, who have been screaming about this for seven years.

Roda seems to be moving for the Electronic Arts college football video game franchise, “NCAA Football,” to return. Image-likeness (NIL) is the reason this series – as well as all college sports video games – went missing in 2013 with Electronic Arts and the NCAA facing many lawsuits for improper use like real players as models for game characters.

Allowing student athletes to make money must mean the game is back, and our dream of escaping in the world of virtual college football is once again imminent.

But sometimes everything returns, like Alabama when Nick Saban revived the football program and turned it into a national championship machine. Another time, they returned to Texas when quarterback Tyronne Swoopes jumped into the final zone to ensure a double victory over Notre Dame.

Unfortunately, the “NCAA Football” series is the last.

Athletics Nicole Auerbach tweeted a heartbreaking comment from Val Ackerman, commissioner of the Big East Conference, amid social media madness Wednesday when the NCAA moved ahead with important NIL regulations. Ackerman said group licensing, relating to video games, was not possible in college sports without trade unions or collective bargaining agreements, Auerbach reported.

So, no one will be late on a warm July night, waiting for the midnight release of the game. At least, not anytime soon.

Even though it may seem small, “NCAA Football” is the gateway to my sports obsession.

I played all the small league teams that were available to me because all my classmates did it but I didn’t really care to watch any sporting events until I was nine years old. I also don’t play many video games but my family owns Playstation 2, among other game consoles.

So when I was eight years old, I was given the prize “NCAA Football 2003.”

I didn’t know much about football, so at first, I couldn’t be trusted trying to navigate the call to play and maneuver my players in the game, which released its first version in 1993.

Needless to say, I’m terrible. Some people will argue me still. My older cousin, Mark, who is the older brother in my life, took advantage of that when he visited often and showed no mercy whenever we fought each other.

I’ve defeated it – ONCE! – From countless times we play. But despite all the losses, I really like this game.

The college football video game franchise taught me some basics about sports. It also captured the college football procession with good detail and made me an avid observer of the actual product.

When the product disappeared for eight months, my Playstation was in the busiest place.

It’s hard not to get lost in features during an offseason. You are given the choice to become a coach or coordinator at any university, choose your own non-conference schedule, build top-class signing classes and fight to make BCS bowl games each season. My proudest accomplishment is turning Low Wyoming into a powerhouse and knowing you can be invited to a better conference. Big 12 makes room for other Cowboy groups.

My favorite feature is “Road to Glory,” where you act as a high school prospect, reach for an offer, commit to school, get an early job and pursue the Heisman Trophies and national championships. The first year the feature arrived in the game that I committed to UCLA as running back. Something about Los Angeles speaks to me.

I don’t remember the last time I played a game. A few years ago, I sold my Playstation 3 to GameStop as a college bankrupt child for maybe five percent of the original retail value, along with my copy of “NCAA Football 14,” the last iteration of the series.

I hope it returns one day. My love for sports won’t be the same without it.

Maybe, I can add a few wins against Mark. I owe him around 100.

Joe Buettner

405-366-3557

Follow me @ByJoeBuettner

[email protected]

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