More than 50 colleges have launched varsity eSports programs recognized by the governing body known as the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE). NACE championships award thousands of dollars in prize money, which goes towards scholarships for the winners. As the eSports industry continues to grow, the nation’s varsity programs and scholarship offerings will as well. Today, we would like to tell you about several schools that are now part of this growth trend.
We are pleased to announce that Bloomfield College, Concordia University-St. Paul, and the University of Southern California have launched several new eSports programs. And just days ago, a Massachusetts college became the first in the state to join the eSports space and NACE. Here you go.
Bloomfield College, Bloomfield, New Jersey
Bloomfield College has announced that it will be entering the exciting world of eSports and joining NACE. Led by the school’s Student Affairs and Athletics Department, the program is set to launch in spring 2019. In a recent Bloomfield College press release, Dr. Patrick Lamy, Vice President for Student Affairs, said, “we are extremely excited about the introduction of eSports at the College.” Not only will the program “enrich campus life,” he said, it will also “attract a new population of gamers to our institution and our Game Design program.” Dr. Lamy says he looks forward to the official launch next year.
Tryouts for the team have not been announced yet, but the roster will be open to all interested students who are attending Bloomfield College full-time. Per the release, the new eSports program will include three teams consisting of up to six players per team. The teams will share a head coach and assistant coach, and they will compete with teams at other institutions. The College also has plans to partner with high schools that have eSports programs, “making scholarship opportunities likely in the near future.”
Students in the eSports program can expect to “learn the same skills as other sports, including leadership, communication, perseverance, and determination,” says the school.
Athletic Director Sheila Wooten said that she is “thrilled” that Bloomfield College will now add eSports to its athletic programs. “We have identified eSports as an untapped area of student interest” she said, “and with our high-ranking Creative Arts & Technology academic program, it was a natural fit."
Founded in 1868, Bloomfield College serves around 2,100 students enrolled in more than 60 majors and degree programs through seven academic divisions. Bloomfield College is chartered by the State of New Jersey and accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Its academic programs are approved by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education.
Concordia University-St. Paul, St. Paul, Minnesota
The Golden Bears of Concordia University St. Paul (CSP) have become the first in Minnesota to launch an official eSports program. This will be the school’s 17th varsity athletics program and it is set to begin with the 2019-2020 academic year. A unique component of the program will be its coed structure, with “men and women competing alongside each other,” says the school.
The program, which plans to become a member of NACE, will have access to scholarships administered by the Department of Athletics as well as institutional financial aid opportunities.
University officials have also “allocated eSports-specific practice and competition space for the program in the Lutheran Memorial Center (LMC) on the first floor,” where “athletics has an existing footprint with baseball, softball and lacrosse locker rooms in the basement.”
In a Concordia University press release about the program, Associate Director of Athletics Regan McAthie said: "Concordia has long prided itself on being responsive to our market and willing to be unconventional and CSP athletics has always followed the institution's willingness to be bold."
"We've been tracking on the growth and popularity of collegiate eSports for some time now, and consider the program a chance to provide competitive and educational opportunities to an entirely new and unique population of students."
The school is currently seeking a head coach, “who will be able to round out a coaching staff to narrow its selection of gaming options for the Golden Bears to compete in.”
Founded in 1893, Concordia University serves around 5,000 students enrolled in 80 programs leading to an undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate degree. Programs are offered through six colleges and schools including the Colleges of Humanities & Social Sciences, Business & Technology, Education, and Health & Sciences, and the Schools of Continuing Studies and Graduate Studies. Concordia University, Saint Paul, has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1959.
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
The University of Southern California has announced the launch of its first official collegiate eSports program known as “USC Esports Union (ESU).” The Digital Journal has reported that USC Games, a collaboration between the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD) and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science, has established the cross-campus, multi-school program.
The program “unites students from the School of Cinematic Arts, the Viterbi School of Engineering, the USC Marshall School of Business, the USC Annenberg School of Communications, the Keck School of Medicine,” and many other schools and departments, “to build and support on-campus eSports groups with the resources and support necessary to successfully build clubs and teams around their favorite games.” The inaugural title for USC’s ESU will be League of Legends—the most popular multiplayer video game in the world.
Other highlights for USC’s new eSports initiative include a curriculum featuring industry-sponsored courses teaching the design, development, management, marketing, measurement and promotion of eSports, and collegiate conferences and summits to encourage diversity and engagement with future leaders in the gaming space. An “inviting physical gaming space” where fans and players can interact, compete, and socialize, is another highlight as well as scholarships and financial support for competitive players.
USC’s new eSports team, the League of Legends Trojans, have already battled UCLA in an exhibition match at USC’s Conquest pep rally just weeks ago. In spring 2019, the team will compete in Riot Games’ official competitive College League.
University of Southern California first opened its doors to 53 students and 10 teachers in 1880. Today, the school is home to more than 44,000 students enrolled in hundreds of programs through several dozen academic units. USC has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) since March 6, 1949.
Bay State College, Boston, Massachusetts
Bay State College has announced that it will become the first institution in Massachusetts to launch an eSports program and join NACE, with plans to will begin competing in regional eSports tournament competitions Fall 2019. The school reports that, in partnership with NACE, a “national search” is underway for a full-time head coach.
“The addition of an eSports program is intended to promote a holistic approach to the college experience,” says the school “while attracting students who possess skills including critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork, which are transferable to success in the classroom and after graduation.”
Bay State College will offer athletic scholarships as a part of its recruiting effort, “making eSports the college’s first varsity sport competing in some of the most popular eSports games around the world.” League of Legends and Overwatch are just a few. Details about Bay State’s new eSports will be released as the program evolves. Check the official Bay State College website for updates.
Founded in 1946, Bay State College serves approximately 800 students enrolled in more than 15 programs leading to associates or bachelor’s degrees. Bay State College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE, formerly NEASC).