By Jasmine Lam
All around the nation, colleges are starting to offer scholarships for competitive video gamers in what are known as eSports. According to ESPN, the trending popularity of eSports is “massive.”
eSports are becoming more popular in college sports, as colleges are beginning to incorporate competitive gaming into their sports program. Students will be able to play League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and more.
The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is the first major public college to implement eSports into their sports program. UCI recently opened their gaming arena to the students on Sept. 23. It is run by administrators and students.
UCI began offering scholarships to League of Legend players this school year. Ten students will be offered the scholarship and could receive about $15,000 worth of scholarship money.
“Esports also has a huge opportunity to learn from the successes and shortcomings of traditional colleges offer scholarships for eSports sports,” stated Mark Deppe, UCI director of eSports, “and provide a model for collegiate competition.”
Students who accept the scholarship will team up with one another and play against various schools.
“The eSports team and the arena will ensure that UCI continues to be a leader and trendsetter in collegiate esports,” told Jesse Wang, president of the Association of Gamers, to the UCI press.
Another school that offers scholarships for eSports is the Robert Morris University located in Chicago. Students can have up to 50 percent of their tuition paid for, and also receive professional coaching.
Through the scholarships, students have a range of degrees to choose from such as computer game science. Students could major in game design, screenwriting, graphic design and many more.
“I think that [eSport scholarships are] great. People have their own talents in a wide variety of things,” stated junior Nicholas Izumida, “from playing a sport to playing an instrument and this is a way for people to get […] rewarded for their talents.”
In addition, celebrities such as Shaquille O’ Neal, Steve Aoki, and Peter Guber, co-owner of the Golden State Warriors, have all invested in eSports.