5 reasons why EA Sports NCAA Football needs to make a comeback

Let’s be honest, if you’re a sports gamer, you probably miss the NCAA Football franchise.

The school fight songs, the Race for the Heisman Trophy, the features, creating rosters. Let’s be honest, if you’re an avid sports gamer like myself, you miss EA Sports’ heralded NCAA Football franchise.

It could be argued that NCAA Football was the best video game in sports history, next to the likes of Madden and the 2K basketball franchises. There was always a unique distinction between the amateur title compared to the professional versions. Of course, as soon as things got good, the college football game was taken from us.

NCAA Football was forced to shutdown production after facing litigation from the O’Bannon twins, former basketball prodigies with the UCLA Bruins. The O’Bannon twins led a group of student-athletes that were suing the EA Sports franchise among others for using their likenesses without paying them for it.

Once licensing deals expired between EA Sports and NCAA, both sides agreed to mutually part ways in September 2013.

The series began in 1993 under the moniker Bill Walsh College Football on the Sega Genesis, CD and Super Nintendo before taking on the College Football USA name beginning in 1996. It wasn’t titled NCAA Football until 1998.

After that, things took off for the franchise. EA Sports didn’t use player names, but it wasn’t hard to tell who was who when players were placed on rosters with almost identical height, weight and abilities as their real-life counterpart.

Now, the landscape is a bit different in the college football ranks. Things could change and there have been murmurs about NCAA Football making a comeback recently. Here are five reasons why the franchise needs to make a comeback.

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5. Players can get their share

The EA Sports NCAA Football and College Basketball franchises were canned after licensing agreements ran out with the NCAA in 2013. However, a lot of the reluctance to renew the deal came from lawsuits which challenged the definition of amateurism across collegiate athletics.

Recent litigation in 2014 ruled that the NCAA must allow players to get paid. Going forward, players may be able to monetize their likenesses, which is fair considering the time and energy they’ve put into the sport. The NCAA nearly made an estimated $1 billion in revenue in 2014.

While the judge only ruled that athletes could tap into trust funds after graduating college, as well as an annual payments that cover the full cost of school and board, it’s a good start.

Players recently received average payments of $1,600 from a $60 million EA Sports settlement in 2014. Now that those payments have been dispersed, discussions can hopefully begin about renewing the NCAA Football franchise.

4. Custom rosters gave users authenticity

One of the big rules of the EA Sports NCAA Football franchise was using jersey numbers only when naming players. Even though the franchise was able to use actual colleges, use of player likenesses only came close to players’ heights, weights and ratings.

However, there was a work around. Included in the online features was the ability to include share and upload customized rosters. The beauty in this annual feature was the depth of the roster customization.

Players could edit, create and save rosters every season as recent as NCAA Football 2010, when TeamBuilder mode was born. The mode allowed players to create their own university, going as deep as custom stadiums, uniforms and mascots.

When combined with NCAA Football’s franchise mode, customized rosters became a much-needed staple for any avid sports gamer looking for the extra authenticity.

Players even had the ability to create rosters through an online portal which would then be available for save online. With such a deep feature, fans really could use the EA Sports NCAA Football franchise again.

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3. School pride can thrive in the ESports space

EA Sports NCAA Football was a popular game back in 2013, topping sales charts in the final year of its release in July 2013.

Since then, the gaming landscape has changed drastically. Now, the doors have opened on college campuses to invest in ESports.

With a game like NCAA Football, student gamers can show their school spirit by playing as their respective college football team. It’s no secret college students love their games, especially sports games.

EA Sports has already made a sound investment in Esports with their Madden, Fifa and Battlefield 1 franchises. The company recently sponsored a Madden 17 tournament which rewarded the winner with a $1 million prize.

Events like these can allow for universities and colleges to recoup the expenses used by sponsoring gaming events like these. If things work smoothly enough, enough football players on respective campuses can make appearances and draw bigger audiences. Anything is possible.

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2. Different experience from EA Sports NFL Madden

The EA Sports model wasn’t all about creating similar experiences, especially when it came to playing NFL Madden. Players were able to create a collegiate athlete and upload him to the Madden franchise but both franchises warranted differing experiences.

First, EA Sports gamemakers introduced Road to Glory mode in NCAA Football 2010. The mode, narrated by Erin Andrews, allowed players to go from high school all the way to their senior year, with the option to leave early for the NFL Draft.

The mode gave players to a feel for the college football experience, complete with the rivalries, award races and depth chart battles faced by current college stars.

Then gamemakers gave fans the Heisman Challenge mode in NCAA Football 2013. Here players had the ability to play with the likes of former Heisman winners Hershel Walker, Barry Sanders and Tim Tebow.

Given control of the Legends in their senior seasons, players could choose the original school or their own favorite school to play for and break records in their attempt to recreate the Heisman experience.

Ultimate Team mode came along in NCAA Football 2014, the final version and arguably the best game in franchise history. This gave players the ability to create a squad of the greatest college football players and play as them.

That wasn’t the only mode that kept players glued to the sticks, either.

1. Recruiting mode was one of the best features

The best feature (arguably) in the EA Sports NCAA Football franchise was recruiting mode. Deep within the games Dynasty mode, players also were given the reigns of the team’s recruiting department with Recruiting mode.

In this mode, players could target, make recruiting pitches and offer scholarships to a fictional list of up to 25 players in order to build their team. The mode was full of different nuances that gave you breakdowns by position, state and even by offense and defense.

It was fun to participate in weekly battles for recruit that allowed you to offer up to 5,000 points to learn if recruits were interested in your school. While it doesn’t work like this in the real world, it was fun to be given the power to get in recruiting battles for fictional five-star prospects.

Players could schedule in-home visits with prospects as well as offer scholarships immediately, allowing for a possible boost in player interest.

A recruiting mode like this one is hard to mimic in a game like EA Sports NFL Madden. Please, EA Sports, give us the NCAA Football franchise back.

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