Now that people are using the words “massive,” “huge,” and “explosive” to describe eSports, it’s time to get to know an organization that’s been driving the development of this competitive sport at the collegiate level. Formed on July 28, 2016 at the first ever Collegiate eSports Summit held in Kansas City, Missouri, the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE) is the only association of college and university sponsored eSports programs that promotes the education and development of students through intercollegiate eSports.
Headquartered in Kansas City, this non-profit organization also advocates for varsity programs that include scholarships for its participants and a strong institutional commitment to the sport.
When it formed, NACE says only seven colleges and universities had varsity eSports programs. Today, nearly 100 schools across the U.S. and Canada have begun offering official eSports programs and this figure is expected to reach 120 by the end of 2018. As of January 2018, more than 90% of all varsity eSports programs in the U.S. are members of NACE, with a rapidly increasing number of schools exploring eSports.
NACE Statement and Highlights
NACE states that, “Together, our members are developing the structure and tools needed to advance collegiate eSports in the varsity space.” The organization is “collaborating to lay the groundwork” in areas such as:
- Competition & Scholarships
- Path to Graduation
- $9 million in eSports scholarships and aid
- 1,500+ student-athletes
- 80+ member schools (45% NAIA*,40% NCAA*, 10% NJCAA*, 5% CIS* & Independent)
- Annual national convention
- Private discord server (voice-over software) for athletic directors, coaches, and more
- Business intelligence
- Competition between varsity programs
- Guidance to institutions wishing to start varsity programming on their campuses (average eSports program start-up is $32,000)
- Job recruitment for coaches, directors, assistants and more
- Lobbying arm with media and publishers
- Professional development
- Standardized rules and compliance
- Student-athlete recruitment (average 1st year recruitment for programs is 15 students)
- Are part of an emerging industry
- Earn athletic and academic aid
- Play the games they love
- Receive direct coach-to-student mentorship
Most Popular Games at NACE Member Institutions
- Counter Strike
- League of Legends
- Paladins, Champions of the Realm
- Rocket League
- Smite, Battleground of the Gods
NACE National Partners
- Gamer Sensei
- High School Esports League
The list of NACE partnerships is constantly growing, so check the official NACE website regularly for news and updates.
*NCAA: National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
*NAIA: National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
*NJCAA: National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)
*CIS: Canadian Interuniversity Sport
“About Us: National Association of Collegiate eSports.” Linkedin.com. Linkedin.com, 2018. 29 Aug. 2018.
Moody, Josh. “Colleges Are Betting Big On The Multimillion-Dollar Esports Market.” Forbes, Forbes Media LLC., 12 May 2018. Web. 23 Aug. 2018.
Morrison, Sean. “List of varsity esports programs spans North America.” ESPN.com, ESPN Internet Ventures, a division of ESPN Inc., 15 Mar. 2018. Web. 23 Aug. 2018.
Nacesports.org. National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE), 2018. Web. 29 Aug. 2018.