Video games will no longer be considered a waste of time – at least not at this private liberal arts college in Kentucky.
The University of Pikeville has decided to make video games an official sport by launching a new Varsity ESports Program. And get this: It's also offering scholarships to players of League of Legends, a multi-player, battle arena game.
The program will be structured through the spring semester, while the scholarships will be provided in the fall.
“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,” said UPike President Dr. James L. Hurley. “In addition to being good gamers, they will be good students and will bring an exciting new dynamic to our campus.”
UPike alumnus and Information Technology Department employee Eric Van Hoose has been named ESports head coach, according to the university’s official website.
Furthermore, Pikeville is also planning to compete in Collegiate Star League as a co-ed sports team, to battle against many other schools who take part in the League of Legends.
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CSL is an inter-collegiate gaming league that currently organizes competitions for Starcraft 2, Dota 2, Hearthstone and League of Legends, for all accredited colleges and universities in North America.
“With the worldwide popularity of ESports, prospective students from the Central Appalachian service region and beyond have shown great interest in our collegiate League of Legends program,” said Gary Justice, vice president for enrollment management. “We see this as a way for UPike to provide access for future students to compete and help pay for their education through this exciting new sport,” he added.
Pikeville is the second college to make League of Legends a part of their varsity athletic program and offer respective scholarships. Robert Morris University in Chicago was the first one to do so.