When thinking about college sports, everyone thinks about the big football rivalries, the excitement of the March Madness bracket, or getting an athletic scholarship to help pay for a college education. But new to getting a scholarship at a college or university is Esports. Yes, you read that right. You can earn a scholarship by playing video games.
In a global industry that is climbing to over $1 billion in revenue and a fanbase of almost 500 million people, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Esports is finding its way into all kinds of different arenas that most wouldn’t have expected. While it’s in its infancy at the college and university level, it has huge potential.
But what exactly does ESports at the collegiate level look like?
Schools and Organization
When it comes to finding a school that offers Esports, it may not be as hard as it seems. Like all other college athletics, collegiate Esports have their own governing body just like NCAA or NAIA. For Esports, their governing body is called the NACE or the National Association of Collegiate Esports. There are currently 170+ member schools across the United States and that number is likely to continue growing.
On the NACE website, they have a search engine to find member schools who have active Esports athletes and opportunities. While this is still a small niche, it is extremely well organized and will continue to grow. Currently there are more than 5,000 athletes involved in collegiate Esports with over $16 million in scholarship and aid out there. At only 5 years old, the NACE is bound to grow tremendously.
What Games Are Involved?
There are numerous games that are involved with collegiate Esports just as there are in the professional ranks. So quite like stick and ball sports, you can be a master of one game and gain a scholarship, you don’t have to be good at them all.
In the Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre, there is League of Legends, Defense of the Ancients 2, Heroes of the Storm, and Smite. For first person shooters, the games are Overwatch, Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Paladins. Smaller games such as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, StarCraft II, and Hearthstone all have their own smaller genre of Esports games.
Finally, some of the biggest gaming areas for collegiate sports are in none other than sports games. These include Rocket League, FIFA, and Madden. Others are sure to join this genre as online play and games develop more.
Getting A Scholarship
With such a new venture, recruiting avenues for Esports are limited, but have been following in the same footsteps as many of the major stick and ball sports. You can actively seek out recruitment by filling out a prospective athlete form at schools that offer nba live stream Esports programs and submit video credentials of your performances and playing ability.
As Esports grows and technology allows Esport athletes to promote themselves on platforms such as Twitch, recruiting coaches will look for the best players out there. Oftentimes, if a coach is interested, they will invite you to the college for a visit and a tryout with players already currently on the team. So if this interests you, be sure to start streaming and recording your game play, as it will help you be recruited.
Once tryouts have been held and coaches are willing to extend a spot to a player, that is when the scholarship is extended. Each school will have its own parameters for their scholarships, but the majority of Esport scholarships are partial scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $8,000. Not many colleges offer full-ride scholarships to their entire 16-player roster, but it is beginning to become more frequent.
Esports is still relatively unknown unless you are deeply involved with video games and the Esports world already. But in 2019, the inaugural Collegiate Esports Championship was held and televised on ESPN with Harrisburg University winning. If ESPN is involved, it’s the real deal. Gone are the days of mom and dad saying that video games aren’t going to get you into college. In today’s world, it is very much a possibility that it can!