What is new in esports for October 2019?
|California State University||Fresno||California|
|Michigan Technological University||Houghton||Michigan|
|Rowan University||Glassboro||New Jersey|
The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) is a nonprofit membership association organized by and on behalf of its member institutions. What began on July 28, 2016 with just a handful of member schools has grown into organization that supports more than 94% of the 130+ schools with esports programs. NACE, which also supports more than 3,000 student athletes, offers more than $15 million in scholarships and aid.
Today, we would like to add four schools to the nation’s growing list of institutions with esports programs, beginning with California State University, Fresno. Here you go.
California State University, Fresno, Fresno, California
California State University, Fresno (Fresno State University) has announced the launch of two esports programs for fall 2019. The school says that League of Legends will be the first elite student esports team representing Fresno State in competitions against other campuses. Other console games that will be available for competition include Apex Legends, FIFA 2019, Fortnite, Mario Cat 8, NBA2K 2019, Overwatch, Rocket League, SSBU, and Tekken 7.
Funded by Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro and administered via Student Involvement, the program is housed within the Student Recreation Center, which has six console stations equipped with a 50" Monitor, PS4, and Nintendo Switch. Competitive ladders will be offered in the coming months.
Currently, the program is seeking a coach, area manager, production manager, and varsity players. Tryout information is to be announced. Visit Fresno State Student Affairs here to fill out a comment form to be notified when tryouts are set to begin.
Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan
Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) has announced the launch a varsity esports program, making it the first public university in the state to offer esports at the varsity level. Administered through the Michigan Tech Huskies Athletics Department, the program is already a member of NACE and a scholarship structure is in the works.
According to Michigan Tech’s new esports website, gaming is an established part of the culture at the school. Adding esports as a varsity program is a natural fit. Esports align with the University’s goals and STEM initiatives to better prepare students for a future where technology causes rapid changes in the job market. It also provides the Athletics department with the ability to expand opportunities for student-athletes and connect with students who are not engaged in traditional sports.
The goal of the program is to build a roster of 60 competitive gamers. The Director of Esports and the Athletic Director will determine which games best fit the Michigan Tech esports program. The school is currently renovating a space a space in the Student Development Complex as a dedicated sports arena. The facility will include gaming computers, a competition viewing space, and space to live stream competitions.
Michigan Tech Director of Athletics Suzanne Sanregret said, “I’m very excited to offer students another way to make gaming a supported part of their Michigan Tech experience. Competitive gaming requires an inclusive environment where all feel welcome, and that will be at the forefront of our recruitment strategy. We’re eager to begin.”
Per the school, “because esports is a varsity program, student-athletes will be required to maintain appropriate training boundaries and a minimum GPA for eligibility to compete. The expectations of esports student-athletes are the same as those for student-athletes in other varsity programs.”
While the majority of esports events will be online and without travel expense, there will be some opportunities for the Michigan Tech esports program to travel to competitions and tournaments. The esports schedule will begin at the start of the academic year and student-athletes will compete through fall and spring with appropriate breaks.
For more information about the Michigan Tech esports program, visit the official website of the Michigan Tech Huskies here.
Pepperdine University, Malibu, California
Pepperdine University has announced the launch of an esports program that has already participated in the LA Valiant’s Road to Kit Kat Collegiate Overwatch Tournament. The tournament accepted eight schools, with Pepperdine edging out two other universities to claim spot number eight. For the month leading up to the tournament, voting took place to decide which schools would be invited to compete.
The program seems to be gaining traction fast, with big names in the esports industry such as Twitch, ULT and Collegiate Starleague, reaching out to Pepperdine and expressing their interest in talking to students and helping with program development. In a Pepperdine University Graphic report, Director of Campus Recreation Robb Bolton said Pepperdine President Jim Gash is “fully supportive” of an esports program.
“We have already had a meeting with President Gash, and he has expressed his interest in esports,” Bolton said. “He’s already seen the potential with this industry, and I know he’s already been meeting with some of the big leaders in the gaming world because that was something on his agenda already. He gets it, that this is something that’s a great opportunity for students.”
Student gamers interested in getting involved with the esports program at Pepperdine should contact Robb Bolton by email at [email protected]. There is also the Pepperdine Gaming Club, which focuses on “more casual gaming and career development.” Interested students should contact Gaming Club President Adrian Tull, by email at [email protected].
Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey
Rowan University and N3rd Street Gamers have announced the launch of a unique partnership that they say will develop into one of the region’s largest collegiate esports gaming and academic programs. According to the campus-based news source Rowan Today, N3rd Street Gamers (NSG)—a national network of esports facilities and events dedicated to powering competitive opportunities for gamers—plans to invest over $1 million in the construction and development of a 7,500-square-foot gaming facility. Located on Rowan Boulevard in Glassboro, the facility will that also include a broadcast studio and other amenities for use in collaboration with the University.
“Gaming is no longer just a form of entertainment. There are legitimate careers to pursue within this industry, but the paths aren’t always clear,” explained N3rd Street Gamers CEO John Fazio. “This premier esports facility will give Rowan University students and the surrounding community the opportunity to learn both technical and professional skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.”
“Rowan will work collaboratively with NSG to develop curricula relating to the esports industry, establish internship opportunities, and create club and varsity-level teams,” reports Rowan Today. Through internships both on and off-campus, student-gamers will receive “hands-on training and knowledge in a variety of fields that will prepare them to become leaders in technology, engineering, business, computer programming and even broadcasting as it applies to this emerging industry.” Also in development are certificate programs that will provide students and professionals with credentials and training to work in the esports industry.
The school’s Board of Trustees voted to allocate (initially) “$230,000 this academic year to purchase memberships for students to the N3rd Street Gamers network and provide them access to their gaming equipment free of charge.”
Rowan University will kick off its esports initiative with a daylong tournament for students enrolled at Rowan University and its Rowan College partner schools on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The university is expected to start recruiting for collegiate club teams early in the spring semester.
In the meantime, interested student gamers may visit Rowan University Campus Recreation here for additional details about the esports program.