The University of California, Irvine is merging gaming with academics.
The university announced a new scholarship dedicated to the popular game League of Legends. Joining six different private schools that also offer scholarships based on the game, UC Irvine becomes the first public, state-run university to support e-sports in this way.
The scholarship program is set to begin in the fall of 2016, and will be offered to 10 students for four years of study at the university.
Although many schools have student-run clubs dedicated to League of Legends and other games, UC Irvine seeks to act as a leader and model for other schools to embrace e-sports. The developer of League of Legends, Riot Games, has expressed support for the scholarship program in the form of funding for a new PC café on UC Irvine’s campus and plans to extend the deal to other schools in the future.
E-sports have seen the rise of collegiate level tournaments such as the University League of Legends Campus Series, and some schools like Chicago’s Robert Morris University have expanded to offer scholarships for other games as well, including Dota 2 and Hearthstone. However, there is still a long way to go before e-sports can be comparable to traditional sports, from the structure of competitions to the number schools that offer e-sport scholarships.
According to Polygon, “Long-running traditional sports like basketball and football have decades-old structures and organizations in place to handle countrywide tournaments and seasons. League of Legends, by comparison, is still the Wild West on the collegiate level.”Comments powered by Disqus
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