Recently, ESPN featured a story on their Web site highlighting how to obtain rosters for the acclaimed video game series, NCAA Football by EA Sports.
Unfortunately, most likely unbeknownst to ESPN, the person they were profiling is universally known in the video-gaming world as a thief who will steal the rosters from other people and then sell them for profit.
While stealing rosters from someone else is just morally wrong, it is illegal to sell them for profit. I'm not going to link to the story nor say what Web site people are getting these rosters from because there are a select few people that will still ignore this column and go to that Web site anyway to buy rosters.
I'm here to tell you that rosters can be obtained for free in multiple places. When I say "rosters," I mean names attached to the players.
If you've ever played a version of NCAA Football, you would know that by default, players are labeled as "QB #2" or "HB #25." This is because it is illegal for EA Sports to make a profit off the names and likenesses of NCAA athletes.
Every year, there are some great people in the NCAA Football community who will go through hundreds of hours of manual labor to enter these full names for players, edit their accessories (arm bands, helmets, facemasks, gloves, etc.), and correct team depth charts to get the most realistic feel possible for the game.
For those of you who are fans of the series, I beg of you, this gaming season when you are looking for rosters, DO NOT USE ANY SITE THAT CLAIMS IT WILL SELL ROSTERS TO YOU.
Listed below are just a few sites that can be utilized to find free rosters from if you do not play online.
This site isn't currently up and running, but it will be by release day. This is home to Fairdale Kings' rosters, the original king of rosters for the XBox.
He does all the rosters himself and puts "signatures" in them, such as a strategically placed armband on a fourth-string linebacker to put his own touch on the rosters to make them his own.
This is how the given person who was profiled by ESPN was caught stealing rosters. All of these signatures from other roster editors were showing up in the set of rosters he was selling.
Fairdale Kings uploads the roster file to his website for download and he offers a mailing service where he will allow you to mail in your memory card, put the rosters on it, and send it back to you.
Fairdale Kings does all his work for free, but most people will send a donation in to him for his hard work, and I strongly encourage this act of kindness.
This site will also be offering free downloads for every system this season. This site was created mostly to combat the story that was posted on ESPN's Web site, and the video game community is using this website to spread the word about free rosters for this year's game.
www.operationsports.com and the MaddenMania forum
Found at www.operationsports.com/mm, both offer free roster downloads for every system available. These two sites are where the main roster editors reside and post their work first.
Multiple GREAT sources can be found in both site's forums where you can even interact with the roster makers to make suggestions for your favorite team's roster.
These two sites will also be offering a "Custom Sounds" section to download from since this season's NCAA Football game will allow custom sounds into the game at certain points.
If you want House of Pain's "Jump Around" to play at Camp Randall to start the fourth quarter and you need a copy of the song, head to these sites to download the audio file.
On top of those sites, the "EA Locker" during online play will be available to swap roster files in.
So, I'm writing this column not to advertise other web sites, but to let people know that there are free resources all over the internet to download rosters from. I pray that this is the year that nobody buys their rosters and encourages this illegal work.
Happy gaming to all with your new rosters, and now we'll just patiently wait for NCAA Football 2009 to drop on July 15.