The mistaken exclusion of South Alabama, a newcomer to college football's top division this year, from NCAA Football 13 left EA Sports wiping a crateful of egg from its face back in June. Both USA and the embarrassed label would have to stew for another year, until NCAA 14, before the problem could be solved. For whatever it was worth, EA Sports' NCAA team vowed to give South Alabama the red-carpet treatment.
South Alabama fans are reporting that EA Sports has done its community service. That's what it sounds like when a team of environmental artists spend 12 hours at the stadium making it shine—for use in next year's game. Thunder Jags, a site following USA athletics, said two artists, Gregory Palinkas and Dan Goodman, photographed and scanned Ladd-Peebles Stadium's interior and exterior to make sure every detail—"down to the gravel," noted Palinkas—comes to life in NCAA 14.
Thunder Jags gleefully notes this sort of treatment is only shown to the power elite of college football, which South Alabama is far from, only two games into its debut Division I-A season.
It didn't stop there. Two others joined the scan crew to film the school's costumed mascot and discuss the team's playbook with the coaching staff, to make sure any signature plays go into South Alabama's playbook next year.
"We could not have been any more embarrassed and saddened that it happen," producer Ben Haumiller told Thunder Jags. "So that was one of the things where we wanted to make it right, and how this trip became involved, getting everything we possibly can get to represent South Alabama, so when they do make their debut, it's the right debut. It's not just, yes, we added them, it's yeah, here they are, and this is everything about them."
Haumiller and company were due to return to the stadium on Saturday to capture crowd noise, cheerleaders and the team's runout. They picked a good time to do it; South Alabama won its first game of the season.
EA Sports Is Making Good On Their Promise [Thunder Jags. h/t Bubba P.]