Two water-polo players are aiming to add electronic sports, also known as eSports, to the growing list of Student Life Sports at Lindenwood.
Alex Cukic and Scott Kelly have been working on creating a team of gamers to play three games competitively: League of Legends, Counter Strike and Defense of the Ancients 2.
Many colleges around the United States have recognized eSports as a varsity sport. In fact, three schools nearby, Robert Morris in Chicago, Columbia College and Southwest Baptist University, all have varsity programs. Many others have intramural and club-based eSports.
Each team would be made up of five people. The teams would then compete against other schools’ teams.
Many may be skeptical of the idea of turning what is essentially playing video games into a varsity sport. However, eSports as a whole is growing and expanding every day.
Not only is it now a sport, it is also professional. Some of the top League of Legends players in the world earn a base salary of $70,000 with the potential to earn thousands more through tournament winnings and bonuses. The 2016 DotA 2 International had a huge $20 million prize pool.
“The majority of this [eSports] is bringing people together, group work and solving problems,” Cukic said. “This is what we want to bring to the university.”
If eSports turned into a varsity sport here at Lindenwood, there would be a physical fitness aspect to the program.
“If you just sit behind a computer for multiple hours a day, you are going to start gaining weight,” Kelly said. “Gym sessions would be included in the program with the team to maintain general health and mindfulness.”
Kelly and Cukic are working withStudent Life Sports Athletic Director Mike Elam to bring the sport to Lindenwoood.
“He said we need at least one team to be completed,” Kelly said. “Then we could go to him and set up a time to run the game in front of him and play another school to prove that it is a viable thing.”
Cukic and Kelly plan to set up a scrimmage against another school by the end of this semester.
“There are a lot of kids that aren’t athletes, but they want to be part of a team,” Cukic said. “So developing eSports can help them. This is a new opportunity for these kids to feel like part of the school and get scholarships.”
If you are interested in joining the team, send an email to Scott Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.