The Surprising Depth Of NCAA Football 2014

As I have noted elsewhere [1], I greatly enjoy the gameplay videos that various YouTubers have for NCAA Football 2014.  I cheer on imaginary football programs like the University of Georgia-Fairburn Pandas or the University of Alaska Golden Eagles or the Ozark State University Outlaws or any other number of programs.  In addition, I enjoy watching the simulated games of real universities that have updated rosters and that seek to keep track of how the “real” college football scene looks like in the world of video games.  I have noted that this particular football game is certainly a relic of its kind, with no new editions since 2014.  What I did not realize before, and what I would like to talk about now, are some of the reasons why NCAA Football 2014 has not been released in any later versions, and why it is unlikely that we will see such releases anytime soon given the NCAA’s general corruption and their desire to “own” students and their likeness and identities forever and profit from them.

This is a problem that I have written about as well [2], but it is worth repeating.  The NCAA is a big business, and that is especially true in football and basketball.  Other sports may have passionate fans, but the vast majority of schools do not make any money on their tennis team or their lacrosse team or their volleyball teams, no matter how passionate people are about those sports.  And this money creates a problem.  Well, it creates several problems, but they are interrelated with each other.  For one, this is money that is made by corrupt organizers of bowl games, entertainment companies like ESPN, and schools, and spent on the salary of coaches as well as the infrastructure of athletics, and very little of the money gets to the people who are playing the sports.  The fact that the NCAA claims ownership of the likeness of students forever means that even after these people graduate, whether to play football on the professional level or to engage in some other profession, they never receive the payment they are due.  And not only that, but even within the NCAA itself there is a strong tendency for elite schools like those in the Big 5 conferences and Notre Dame to siphon as much as possible of that money to themselves and not to let it get to less prestigious universities, all of which makes for a situation where greed has greatly harmed the well-being of those in college football.

All of this makes it very unlikely that there will be another edition of NCAA Football any time soon.  Does the NCAA plan on allowing present and former players to profit off of their representations, or are they going to be able to fight the inevitable legal battles over such matters?  Perhaps they are not willing to try.  Is there a large degree of hostility towards the corruption of the NCAA on the part of players, fans, and player advocates?  That is certainly possible.  I have not heard of many of the players of the game talking about the issues that they think are present with NCAA Football, but it is pleasing to know that the plight of college football players is being kept alive in at least some fashion because of an old game that still plays well and that has a lot of loyal fans.  I am not sure the extent to which college football athletes have an opinion about their own representation in video games, but it is my own hope that the royalty rights of these athletes are respected in future and retroactive agreements.

What is the surprising depth of NCAA 2014?  For one, it allows a chance for the creation of teams as well as of players in a way that inspires a popular fanbase that can self-insert themselves into the glory of college football and bring obscure or even imaginary schools to the pinnacle of athletic greatness.  In addition to the strong gameplay and features of the game itself, though, the game, by its existence as the last of its kind, manages to shine a light on the money problems of college football, whether it involves the lack of credit and money that goes to the players themselves past and present or whether it involves the divide between haves and have nots among the schools themselves.  To have more glory for college football as a franchise video game, it would be necessary to sort out these issues of profit and licensing so that everyone gets their fair share, and fairness is not generally something that can be found in contemporary college football.  And until that happens, everyone will be the loser because of an inability to work together for the best interests of all, the sort of lesson it would be good to learn in college.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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