Sporterberg in Quarantine: It’s time for EA Sports to return to college

Jenna Altemus, of Johnstown, Pa., plays an "NHL 2020" video game to stave off boredom during stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus outbreak Friday, Associated Press

By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer

Just imagine: you are coaching in the 2028 NCAA national championship game. You’ve won the past four titles as the head coach of Florida Atlantic. So, you’re either a multimillionaire, or EA Sports is making college football games again, and they should be.

The EA Sports college football and basketball video games were the base of my childhood. Building dynasties and making great programs out of obscure colleges took up more time than I’d like to admit, and I miss them dearly.

The games gave you the power to take over a program in Dynasty Mode, or play the career of a student-athlete in Road to Glory. With the Dynasty, you helmed a program for 30 years and got to recruit and play each week as you bounced from program to program hoping to build a lasting legacy. Road to Glory placed you in your high school senior season to be recruited, then you made your way to college to build your way into a starting role and earn individual accolades.

The games were discontinued after the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit due to name, image and likeness issues. Basically, the court ruled that players had the right to be paid since the company was basing attributes of the video game players off of the real life versions. Since then, EA Sports still makes Madden, as well as FIFA and the NHL games, but their repertoire has certainly taken a hit without college sports in its catalog.

It’s about time they start that back up. The last NCAA Basketball came out in 2009 with Blake Griffin on the cover, and the last NCAA Football was released with Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson on the cover in 2013. They are severely outdated, and aren’t even available on the most recent video game consoles. Drake Toll, LTVN Managing Editor, paid an obscene amount of money just to get his hands on a version this week.

People have been pleading for years for these games to be back in their lives. Patrick Schmidt of Fansided compiled a list of tweets from random people and people that have made careers out of sports, including NBA player and former Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker as well as Chris Hummer from 247Sports, begging for the company to release a new version.

This would even be a perfect time to launch them, or at least release updated versions of the old games. People are stuck at home. They’re bored. They have nothing else to do as they pick up cooking or working out or reading. EA Sports could rake in some serious dough if they capitalized on this opportunity.

NCAA Sports video games, we miss you. Please come back.