Lanett legend set to be a part of new NCAA video game

Published 10:47 am Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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More than a decade ago, EA announced the end of the NCAA gaming franchise and sports fans around the world were devastated. The video game finally makes its return in just over a week and some local legends are set to be a part of the storied gaming franchise. 

EA ended the NCAA franchise in 2013 after lawsuits regarding players in the game not being paid for their likeness. With the new NIL laws in the NCAA, EA was finally able to pay the players for their likenesses and bring the game back in July. 

Like most athletes growing up, former Lanett star Kristian Story grew up playing college football video games. Story made himself a player in the game, but now he is set to be on the roster with the Kentucky Wildcats. 

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Story did not expect the game to come back during his time in college. He is in his senior year of college, and finally getting to be in the game he grew up playing is a dream come true. 

“That was one of my favorite games growing up until they stopped making them,” Story said. “It was definitely nothing that I thought would come back while I was in college. I’m glad I’ve got this last year so I can catch the tail end of it. Hopefully, they keep it going so that I can play with the rest of the people that I have still in college and my little brother. I just like the game in general.” 

The process to get Story’s likeness in the game was simple. He just had to sign a contract agreeing to allow his likeness in the game. The contract was sent out to all players, but a spot in the game was not guaranteed. 

EA College Football 25 only allows 85 players on each team’s roster. Story was selected to be on Kentucky’s roster as he is expected to be an impact player in the Wildcats’ secondary next season. 

Player ratings for any sports video game are always heavily disputed by fans, but the players care just as much. Story knows that his rating in the video game might not be as high as he believes it should be. 

Story transferred to Kentucky from Alabama for his senior season. He was used sparingly during his time at Alabama, and that could make his overall rating in the game lower than where his skillset actually is. 

“If you ask me, I’d say 90-91,” Story said. “Realistically, I’m hoping I’m at least an 80. No less than 80, I’d be OK.” 

Paying players for their likeness in the game has been a heavily disputed concept since the franchise stopped production. Story received the base $600 for his likeness in the game. Other players received more money if they were brand ambassadors for the franchise. 

Story believes that players should be paid for their likeness just like in any other sports game. The lack of pay would not have stopped him from being in the game. Just accomplishing the dream of seeing his name in the game would have been enough for Story. 

“These companies are going to make millions of dollars off of it, but people who are actually making it work and selling it, which are the players, should be compensated for it as well,” Story said. 

“When I was younger and just a fan, I thought people should just want to be in the game,” Story said. “Me, personally, I feel like regardless I would want to be in the game. Everybody doesn’t view it the way I view it, but I feel like players should be compensated for that just based on how big of a part they are in the game.” 

2017 and 2019 were some of the best years for Lanett’s football program with Story being a big part of that. Now, he wants to make the most of his final season at Kentucky. 

Story is a high-level athlete with other things to focus on, but he is still going to make time to play his childhood game. 

“The first thing I’m going to do is make myself a 99 overall and play with myself,” Story said. “After that, I’m ready to do the road to glory mode. Maybe choose different schools that I had an opportunity to go to but never did. Just to make the most out of the game.” 

Kristian is expected to be one of the highest-rated from Chambers County in the game, but he is not the only one set to grace the digital platform. Former Lanett star and current Oregon defensive back Trikweze Bridges is expected to be in the game along with Caden Story. 

Caden and Kristian grew up playing the game together. Caden graduated in 2021 and signed to play with Clemson as a defensive lineman. 

“We used to play it together, so it’s wild,” Kristian said. “It’s a full circle moment both of us being in it now. He’s somebody that’s definitely high on my list to play with right after myself.”