As esports grows, teens entering college find more opportunities to get recruited into or to join their chosen colleges and collegiate esports teams.
Scholarships in Collegiate Esports
Scholarships in collegiate esports exist and do so abundantly. The number one question on your mind is probably, “are there really scholarship opportunities for my child when it comes to esports?” Yes, there are, and today we here at Esports Tower will give you an in-depth look at what getting a scholarship is like for a gamer and how the esports scene operates in college.
The History of Scholarships in Esports
In 2014, Robert Morris University made headlines around the world by being the first institution of its kind to bring esports into its athletic program. This is when esports, at least in the US, became a varsity sport. Robert Morris University created its own League of Legends team in 2014. Although schools technically had college esports teams, what marked this as the “beginning” was Robert Morris University’s designation of their League of Legends team as a varsity sports or esports team.
After Robert Morris University created their varsity esports team, and after many considered it to be a mere publicity stunt of a small school, the year 2015 saw the University of Pikeville in Kentucky create their own varsity esports team.
Fast forward a bit and in the spring of 2016, University of California Irvine became the first public university to create an official esports program. By September 2016 the Esports Arena, sponsored by iBUYPOWER, was opened. It and many other colleges have since gained additional sponsorships, marking the dawn of professional collegiate esports.
How Many Schools Have Esports Teams?
So where are we now, only a couple short years later? While journalists in the media continue to balk at the idea of varsity esports, varsity esports continues to grow.
The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) is a nonprofit membership association aimed at advancing collegiate esports in the varsity space. NACE was officially formed in July 2016. When they first formed, there were only 7 colleges/universities that had esports programs. Now, over 100 institutions have varsity esports teams. All over the US, schools are contemplating how they can create their own teams and enter esports.