Do you have a child that is addicted to playing video games? If so, do you worry about his/her future? Are you concerned for his/her education? If you answered yes to those questions, you may no longer need to threaten to take away the gaming console just yet. In fact, now that there is a college scholarship program for video gamers, you may, in fact, be shoving that game controller back into their eager game-playing hands.
Meet Youngbin Chung, a young lad from the San Francisco area who spent an average of ten hours a day along in his room playing video games. Huffington Post reports that Chung’s grades were scraping the bottom of the barrel, and his parents were beside themselves.
However, skip ahead a few years and now, at the age of 20, Chung is attending Robert Morris University, a small private college in Chicago, where he is studying computer networking. He is one of 35 other students at this university that are attending on a $15,000 per year athletic scholarship for playing “League of Legends” — the very video game that threatened Chung’s high school graduation, as revealed by CBS Local. The $15,000 scholarship covers up to half off tuition and half off room and board.
Robert Morris University is the first in the United States to offer a scholarship program for video gamers — and it’s under the athletic program as e-sports. CBS Local reveals Chung’s enthusiasm about the scholarship.
“I never thought in my life I’m going to get a scholarship playing a game.”
E-sports is the new trend that Kurt Melcher, Associate Athletic Director and creator of the video gamer scholarship, believes will soon become a “bigger chunk of the collegiate sports world,” according to Huffington Post.
“It’s coming; it’s coming big time.”
In case you’re questioning the legitimacy of e-sports, CBS Local puts it in perspective. “In professional leagues, they compete for millions of dollars in prizes and pull in six-figure incomes for vanquishing their enemies in what have become huge spectator events packing tens of thousands into sports stadiums around the world.”
“League of Legends,” as well as other current similar video games, “demand hyper mental acuity and involve multiple players communicating with each other in teams, plotting strategy, predicting opponents’ moves and reacting in milliseconds,” as told by Huffington Post. Which, according to the Robert Morris University, is rather similar to the skills that physical athletes such as a football or basketball players encompass in their sports.
As revealed by Huffington Post, “League of Legends” incorporates teams of “five on five” using a mouse and keyboard to “control mythical fighters battling it out in a science fiction-like setting.”
There are quite a few college campuses and universities that have e-sports clubs, but none of them have placed e-sports under the athletic umbrella. The students actually have practices where they study different tactics to defeat their enemies and watch videos of previous games and practices to improve their game.
The students get to enjoy and hone their gaming skills in Robert Morris University’s $100,000 classroom which features gizmos and gadgets that any technical nerd would kill for. It is equipped with an enormous video screen, computers, and tons of fascinating gaming tools.
Recruiting will work in a couple of ways, according to Melcher. He describes the process to SCPR.
“There is a high school star league and we’ll be looking for people out of there. Also word of mouth. This is a very connected community. Reddit, that’s like the newspaper for them, so we’ll post on there. The high school star league has a final four competition … but almost everything can be done online.”
When Melcher was asked if e-sports and video gamer scholarships was the wave of the future, he is quick to say yes, as SCPR reveals.
“I’ve already been contacted by a number of universities—they asked for anonymity—and there are some major, huge universities asking me about this. While we’re the first on the curve, its definitely growing and I think it’s something other schools will be adding. In 10 years from now who says NCAA, if they’re still around, wouldn’t add it?”
[Photo Credit: Photopin.com]