Sorry, South Alabama, You're Not in the Game

Illustration for article titled Sorry, South Alabama, You're Not in the Game

A couple years ago, Cullen Loeffler was sore at EA Sports because they had deliberately left the Minnesota Vikings' long snapper out of Madden NFL, for years, because of roster space restrictions. It was an amusing kerfuffle, mostly because who the hell is really looking to play as a long snapper on special teams, anyway.


Well, that's one player. The University of South Alabama has about 85, and 15,000 students enrolled, and a bunch more alumni, and is a full member of the Sun Belt Conference, and they're none too pleased they won't be appearing in NCAA Football 13 when the game releases in July. This season will be USA's debut year in Division I-A Football Bowl Subdivision play, and while they're ineligible for postseason bowls, three other schools making their Division I-A FBS debut—Massachusetts, Texas-San Antonio and Texas State—will be included.

An EA Sports spokesperson told a South Alabama blog that "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."

But the same blog points out that South Alabama declared its intentions, back in 2009, to move to Division I-A FBS play—earlier than any of the other three teams joining Division I-A FBS play this year. Further, South Alabama is playing a full schedule in the Sun Belt Conference, which is a full Division I-A FBS conference featured in the game.

Yesterday evening, I pinged an EA Sports producer for an answer and was referred over to the same spokeswoman, who didn't immediately reply. While I thought this might be explainable by the fact USA is not bowl-eligible in its provisional year—and would require a fix to the game's extremely complicated scheduling logic that may not be worth it for a single season, that doesn't make much sense if the other three provisional schools are included. Further, Western Kentucky was added into the game's Division I-A FBS lineup with no problems back in 2008.

It may not mean a lot to me—I went to a Division I-A FBS BCS-member school, so I'm one of the Haves in college football even if N.C. State and the ACC only technically belong to that club . South Alabama is not a school I'm particularly interested in playing as or playing against, either, but that speaks only for me. I do know it's a tremendous affirmation when your school—and South Alabama was chartered as a university in 1963— is included in mass-market media, whether that's a national ESPN broadcast or a simulation of one in a video game.

You could still create South Alabama through the game's TeamBuilder feature, or import any of the several user-created versions of USA available on the TeamBuilder site. But whatever the reason for South Alabama's exclusion, it's regrettable and an unfortunate slight.


EA Sports Drops the Ball [Jags Jungle]


I went to Nevada. Go Wolf Pack. South Alabama would be just another cupcake in my game.