League of Legends to Become College Sport
So playing of League of Legends can now get you accepted to a varsity athletic program in college. Yup. This is a real thing!
According to IGN’s Mike Mahardy, the Robert Morris University Illinois in Chicago has just added eSports to its varsity athletic program and is now recruiting students with the prospect of getting scholarships based on their League of Legends prowess. And who ever said that playing games hardcore wouldn’t pay off?
The University is just one of the 103 institutions that make up the Collegiate Star League, which has students in clubs and organizations competing against each other in other multiplayer online battle arena games such as StarCraft 2 and DOTA 2. RMU has the distinction of being the first institution to include eSports in a varsity program.
For those not familiar with League of Legends or MOBAs in general, they are multiplayer games in which team teams vie for control of areas of a map before wiping out the opposing team’s home base. There are player-controlled characters called Champions with varying skills, strengths and weaknesses as well as minions that act as fodder for players to gain experience, level up to acquire new skills and collect money to buy better equipment. Play can be very competitive, with whole teams being formed and working like well-oiled machines in order to crush other teams.
And now, RMU is offering students scholarships based on their League of Legends skills, with up to 50 percent off tuition and room and board, saving students a potential $19,000. They’re currently looking to recruit a total of 27 players divided into a main team and two support squads of 9 players each.
Kurt Melcher, associate athletic director at RMU, said, “I hope we’re not the last school to do what we’re doing. The CSL is so well organized already, but I would love to see it go a step farther. If we’re the first of many, that would be spectacular.”