This past Saturday at 9 a.m., players arrived at the University of Cincinnati's basketball arena for a two-day tournament hosted by the UC's League of...Legends? Yes: The university now considers League of Legends an official club sport, just like soccer or rugby. With 14,000 people watching the tournament online, the event became one of the largest collegiate e-sports events with participants competing for a $2,000 cash prize. But is it a game or is it a sport?
Though skeptical at first, UC's administration finally caved and are now seeing the benefits of the League. There has been increased visibility for video gamers across campuses, especially now that it's organized and holds educational value. Gaming competitions are legitimized through rules and regulations, though not yet under the rule of the NCAA. Furthermore, the U.S. government allows professional video gamers to use "athlete visas" to travel internationally to compete. With this trend, one may argue that video games aren't necessarily becoming more popular but rather it's a "formalization and institutionalization of what's always been present."
Robert Morris University in Chicago became the first U.S. college to make competitive gaming a varsity sport and offer video game scholarships up to half of tuition and housing, roughly $19,000. Video game sponsors helped RMU create the ideal gaming room with high-tech monitors, headsets and chairs so that students resemble fighter pilots. Though they fell short to the University of British Columbia in the 2015 North American Collegiate Championship, RMU competitors still received $15,000 in scholarships while UBC took home the $30,000 championship trophy.
What do you think about getting paid to game? If you are an avid gamer and want to be rewarded for your talent and passion, check out some video game and design scholarships to celebrate International Games Day on November 21st.
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