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EA Sports brings competition to ND

Heather VanHoegarden | Thursday, August 26, 2004

Next week, all the hours spent playing NCAA Football could pay off for one Notre Dame student.Electronic Arts Sports, commonly known as EA Sports, will come to campus Aug. 31, for the 2004 EA Sports NCAA Football Challenge. The competition will consist of 128 Notre Dame students who signed up either online or at the door. They will play each other in NCAA Football 2004 in head-to-head action on PlayStation2. The winner of the Notre Dame competition will advance to Las Vegas, Nev. where he or she will face off against 15 other winners from schools around the nation, including Southern California, Purdue, Florida State and Miami.Notre Dame is the first stop on the 16-school tour.”Notre Dame is a huge football school,” said Trey Geiger of the EA Sports lifestyle marketing department. “We wanted to make sure it went to the top football schools in the country, and what better place to start then in South Bend [at Notre Dame], where the College Football Hall of Fame is.”The NCAA contest is in its first year. It was inspired by EA Sports’ Madden NFL Football contest, which is in its third year. The NFL contest spanned 32 cities, and had as many as 1,000 contestants in each city.”It’s been a huge success,” Geiger said. “People are into it; they love the competition.” Geiger said he thinks the NCAA contest will be just as popular. At each school, 128 students will compete to advance to Las Vegas. “We realized there are college kids all over playing this game [NCAA Football 2004],” Geiger said. “They can prove who is the best challenger in the country.”The finals will be held Dec. 10-11, and the winner of the 16 finalists earns a $10,000 prize.In order to participate, gamers must be a currently-enrolled student at the university where the Challenge is held. They will be pitted against the other competitors through a random bracket.And since not all 8,000 students can participate in the Challenge itself, the EA Sports will bring its trucks filled with kiosks of games that haven’t been released, such as Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005. They will be available for students to try out during the competition. “That’s going to be a pretty cool thing,” Geiger said.Students can sign up online at www.ncaafootballchallenge.com, or they can show up at Stepan Center Tuesday to sign up at the door. However, it is limited to the first 128 students. The Challenge is set to start at 4 p.m., and Geiger said it should last four to five hours.”The competition, the atmosphere, it’s unreal,” he said.