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What Colleges Have Esports Programs

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Why Are College Varsity Esports A Big Deal

College Esports Program with Scholarship Opportunities

The NACE website quotes an article in the issue of ESPN The Magazine, which said that 27 million people watched the 2014 championship tournament for League of Legends.

DOTA 2 pulled 20 million viewers in 2014.

Those are impressive numbers without context.

Theyre even more impressive when you consider the viewership for other major sporting events that year: 5 million watched the National Hockey Leagues Stanley Cup Finals. The World Series had 13.8 million. The NBA Finals had 15.5 million.

Clearly, professional esports is already a big deal.

The growing popularity of college varsity esports is not just great for the future of professional esports and gaming in general .

College varsity esports is another avenue in which colleges can attract students, celebrate the diversity of interests on campus, and invest money to benefit more of their student body.

With esports, a little investing goes a long way.

Esports training facilities are more affordable than regular sports training facilities. And, with the right sponsors, some programs dont have to worry about supplying the gaming chairs, or high-end computers, or other gear.

And an esports training facility doesnt need a new, state-of-the-art million-dollar building. Many schools recommission old rooms that arent seeing much use. They gut it, spruce it up, and fill it with gaming gear.

Boom, theres your varsity esports training facility.

Georgia Institute Of Technology

Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta is a public research university which has been dedicated to excellence in higher education since it was founded in 1885. The university is divided into six colleges and offers a variety of degree programs for its students.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Georgia Tech within the top 10 public universities in the United States. While the university is well known for its high quality in academics, students also are encouraged to engage in other clubs, sports, and activities.

Georgia Tech is also home to a League of Legends organization and esports team. Students who love the game can work and play together as part of a team. The League of Legends team at Georgia Tech also participates in organized tournaments against other collegiate teams.


Chicago, Illinois

Founded in 1913, Robert Morris University-Illinois with main campus in Chicago is a private, not-for-profit 4-year school serving the needs of students earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees. It is named after the signer of the declaration of independence, as is the University by the same name in Pennsylvania, but the two are not affiliated with each other. Students who attend Robert Morris University-Illinois can expect to find that the school strives for excellence in academics while providing a professional and career focused environment for its students.

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Riot Games Collegiate League Of Legends

In 2016, the NACC became the University League of Legends Campus Series, run by CSL, after IvyLoL and NACL stopped functioning and many of their staff were hired as Riot Games employees to orchestrate their collegiate activities. In the Fall of 2017, Riot Games announced that it would rebrand again as College League of Legends and switch official partners from CSL to Battlefy. In May 2019, Riot Games announced the formation of the Riot Scholastic Association of America as the governing body for collegiate and high school esports for League of Legends.

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Reasons Every School Should Have An Esports Team

Esports can be as valuable for our students as real sports are.

In 1998, when I was in 8th grade, Blizzard released Starcraft. Starcraft was my first introduction to esports. My friends and I loved Starcraft. We would bring our computers to each others houses and play after school or sports practice. It wasnt long before Starcraft blew up around town and the local computer store started to host Starcraft LAN tournaments. My friends and I would play in as many tournaments as we could. Even when we didnt win, we still loved the competition and cheering for each other.

In 2011, I went to my first professional esports tournament. There was a Starcraft II tournament at Caesars casino in Atlantic City. My friends and I, the same friends Ive been playing games with since 1998, decided to go check it out. The tournament had light effects, smoke machines, entrance music, walkouts, jumbo trons, and live casting. The capacity crowd knew every player by name and would chant and cheer for their favorite players. It was awesome. I never knew esports existed on that level. By 2011, Id already been teaching for five years. Id been coaching varsity football, wrestling, and track for five years, too. As someone who has a foot in both the esports and traditional sports world, Atlantic City was a wake up call: we need esports in education.

The Benefits Of Esports In Schools

Esports Programs Help Colleges Recruit Students

Educators know that taking part in extracurricular activities boosts student success. A lot. Regardless of the activity. Whether a comedy club or a softball team. A meet up for engineering enthusiasts or movie buffs. Studies have definitely shown that students who are involved in extracurricular activities are more successful in a number of ways.1

Among the benefits: Involved kids miss less school and graduate at a higher rate. They do better in math and reading and more often aspire to higher education.2 Students that join activities are more likely to pay attention in class. They care more about their education.3 They also feel better about themselves and engage in fewer harmful behaviors like smoking and drinking.

The key to benefiting from this dynamic is for schools to offer activities that appeal to as many students as possible. Thats were esports comes in. Read on for five high-impact ways esports in schools is a great thing for students, schools and the community.

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How To Get Recruited For Esports

To find recruits for their esports teams, college coaches start by performing an initial evaluation of prospects who have submitted a recruiting form. In some cases, coaches also monitor major tournaments to find promising recruits. If a coach is impressed by your Twitch stream and video on demand, they will invite you to campus to meet current team members and undergo a live tryout. Tryouts are typically held during or shortly before the school year. They allow the coach to evaluate you in person and test your abilities in a team environment. If you pass the test, the coach will offer you a spot on the team and a partial, full-tuition or full-ride scholarship.

More Esports Initiatives Within Education

Other third-parties are looking at getting involved in esports courses in the UK to help train up and coming talent.

And theres the brilliant Digital Schoolhouse tournament by UK games industry trade body Ukie.

The Princes Trust also backed an esports workshop course dedicated on teaching skills through esports. This helped unemployed young adults learn new skills and access new opportunities. The group behind it, EOB Esports Academy, is doing more in the esports space too.

Then theres the National University Esports League , a group focused on bringing nationwide varsity competition to the UK, holding national championships for many top games including League of legends and Counter-Strike, and National Student Esports , which launched in April 2018 and is also hosting university esports tournaments.

In 2020, the Association for Continuing Education in Esports emerged to provide a link to industry and also academic research in this space.

Have we missed anyone? Are you from an educational establishment or a company looking at esports? Please let us know by emailing and well add you to this article

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How Much Are Esports Scholarships

Esports scholarships are awarded on a school-by-school basis. The majority are partial and range from $500 to $8,000 per year. Several schools are beginning to offer full-tuition, and even full-ride scholarships. Harrisburg Universitywhich won ESPNs inaugural Collegiate Esports Championship in May 2019became the first college esports program to award full ride scholarships to its entire 16-player roster in 2018.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Crowder College expands esports program to Joplin Advanced Training & Technology Center

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a crossover fighting game published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. The fifth installment follows the series’ traditional style of gameplay: controlling one of various characters, players must use differing attacks to weaken their opponents and knock them out of an arena. Ultimate includes every playable characters ranging from Nintendo’s mascots to characters from third-party franchises.

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Park University Kansas City Mo

Beginning this spring, Park will debut a new gaming facility and field a League of Legends team. Scholarships will also be available to the tune of about $3,000. The 6-figure investment in the program has been funded in part by a $10 per-credit-hour tech fee that Park students agreed to pay. As Park VP and COO Shane Smeed told the Kansas City Star, It is big We see us adding more teams as we go. The sky is the limit.

Desales University Center Valley Pa

The DeSales Bulldogs will officially compete as a team this coming spring. Teams will first compete in League of Legends tournaments. An Overwatch team will follow in the fall of 2019.

The two titles we will be competing in are incredibly complex and strategy driven, says eSports Program Director and Assistant Professor of Computer Science: Digital Art and 3D Animation, Karen Ruggles, in an announcement. The players have to know each hero their strengths, weaknesses, and how each hero can play with and against other heroes. Adaptability, strategy, teamwork, and communication are required skills to be successful within the games. As the program director, I look forward to helping each player take those skills and translate them to a tool for their future studies and careers.

Details regarding scholarships have not yet been announced.

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What Are The Program Expectations

Each team will have a set weekly practice that consists of vod/gameplay reviews, scrimmages, strategy and analysis meetings, and official matches. Most competitions will not require travel, but there will be various LAN events throughout the year that the teams will have the opportunity to attend. Concordia Esports is an affiliate member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference and will compete nationally through different leagues such as Riot’s cLoL, Tespa, Collegiate Rocket League , and Collegiate Starleague .

Concordia Esports competes and practices in a dedicated arena that is exclusive to our esports members. The arena is equipped with 13 Alienware R8’s, Alienware 240hz monitors, and Logitech peripherals that members will have access to. We also have a dedicated production system for streaming, along with a lounge area with a projector and two 70″ TVs for VOD reviews and watch parties.

Top 20 Colleges For League Of Legends Esports Gamers

A Growing Number of Colleges Are Beginning to Offer ...

League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena competitive online game released in 2009 by Riot Games. Its team-based, fast-paced, and fun, and has been a favorite among college students since its inception. Student gamers enjoy the challenges put forth by League of Legends, and gaming clubs and school LoL teams are a terrific way for students to bond and learn how to work together, whether taking online classes or going to school on campus.

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The gaming industry is huge, particularly in the United States. College students are typically among one of the largest age groups for gamers, both male and female. Therefore, it is no surprise that eSports are on the rise and becoming recognized as legitimate Varsity activities, just like physical sports.


To determine which top schools would be best for League of Legends players, recent scores for college LoL tournaments were consulted. Points were also awarded to schools which offered scholarships for esports and League of Legend players. We consulted sites like The Gamer, Dot Esports and ESPN, to look at where the top players are coming from. Lastly, we researched each school, to find out more about their respective esports programs.

We also consulted our ranking of the top 100 best online colleges during our research into the best colleges for League of Legends esports gamers.

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Bursting The Esports Career Bubble

Despite the growing interest and push by students, questions about how to best serve these students academically and professionally and how to make these programs legitimate are all key to integrating esports on campus.

Esports at the competitive level is high-risk, high-reward, and like traditional sports, very few players will achieve fame and fortune. Over the course of my interviews, I noticed a pattern in the responses from students and professors alike — colleges should address the risky nature of esports by creating academic programming to support other specializations, like marketing, journalism, livestream and video production, and other related skills to help improve student success.

I don’t think if you want to be a player, a collegiate program , unless you’re going to a specific school that is competing in Tier 2 scenes, like academy scenes with already established organizations, Peterson said. If you want to use a college esports program to get into esports, the best thing to do for job security is to go into production. It gives you all the viewpoints, to an extent.

Many other specializations tied to esports can prepare students for the world of work. This tactic also allows professors and staff to convince more cautious administrators and develop pathways into esports that will ultimately help universities stay relevant.

Ohio Northern University Ada Oh

This summer, ONU announced their eSports team would debut in the fall semester of 2019. They have since secured Head Coach Troy Chiefari and have committed to competing in League of Legends and Overwatch. The institution plans to create both a varsity and a reserve team for both games. Details regarding scholarship opportunities have not yet been released.

I am very excited to start the esports program at Ohio Northern, Chiefari said in a blog post. I have worked with teams at the professional and collegiate levels and am looking forward to working with the young men and women at ONU. My goal is to establish a more responsible avenue for young adults to pursue esports while also obtaining a college degree for when their competitive playing days end.

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University Of Texas At Dallas

UT Dallas offers esports programs for the games Overwatch, League of Legends, Super Smash Bros., and Rocket League. With these programs, they have claimed two titles for Super Smash Bros., ranked number 6 for Rocket League, and ranked number 8 for Overwatch. They offer scholarships as part of tournament winnings for athletes. During the pandemic, the two student-led initiatives helped the program build a bigger community.

As one of the first content creation programs for collegiate esports, they have groomed more than 80 content creators that are experienced in utilizing a variety of programs. Besides those two programs, they also have esports broadcasting experience as well. UTD is a program that genuinely cares about its students. With that, UTD is number 7.

Esports In Schools Expands College And Career Opportunities

Lakeshore Technical College 1st esports season starts in spring | FOX6 News Milwaukee

We know that involved students are more likely to go on to higher education. Beyond this benefit, esports, in particular, provides students with added options for their next steps in life.

STEM careers

Students involved in esports are a natural fit for careers in STEM, which are projected to offer some of the best employment opportunities for todays students. Of the 100 jobs defined as STEM-related by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 93 have wages above the national average. Growth in STEM employment is projected to be better-than-average. Computer-related occupations are the largest projected category of new jobs between 2014 2024. 6

When students take part in esports in school, coaches can nurture a passion for STEM and guide students to explore STEM careers. Colleges with a strong esports culture tend to offer a robust STEM curriculum. Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, for example, is a pioneering leader in game design and esports competition. The university offers a BS in gaming programming through the Engineering Department as well as a BA in Game Art through the fine arts department. The school also offers a minor in game design.

Careers in esports

College scholarships

Starting an esports team in school can be daunting, you can learn how to set up one in our complete guide. Or find out about our series of gaming displays here.


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University Of Pikeville Pikeville Ky

UPIKE was the second school to make esports a part of the varsity athletics program.

In our research and interaction with gamers at this level, we learned that they are extremely competitive, but also hard workers, valuable team members and quite often have a high level of aptitude in using technology, in addition to being good gamers, they will be good students and will bring an exciting new dynamic to our campus. UPIKE President Dr. James L. Hurley

We want to teach our students to use new technology like it is second nature and be able to translate what makes a good League of Legends player into a good student. Our students will be involved in emerging global trends while offering great technology opportunities right here at home.

League: Collegiate Star League


The Beginnings Of Collegiate Esports

eSports has recently begun gathering a larger viewing and playing population. Many players stream themselves live on Twitch or post videos on YouTube as a means of gaining fans, entertaining people, and earning a living. Professional eSports teams such as SK Telecom T1, Team Liquid, and Team SoloMid, have many teams within the organization that play different video games. The more popular games range from League of Legends and DOTA 2 to CS: GO and Overwatch. Other games played by these teams are Rocket League, Brawlhalla and Super Smash Brothers. The teams compete on both national and international stages, where winning earns them fame and a large money reward.

As eSports has started gaining the attention of the masses, various colleges and universities have also to promote the gaming industry as a collegiate sport. Some of the programs actively recruit for players, allowing students to directly apply to the college as an eSports hopeful student. Others do not recruit but rather allow students to try out and join teams after they are accepted to the university for a more traditional major.

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