College students are turning their passion for playing video games into a competitive sport that helps them pay for school. Concordia University in St. Paul is one of two colleges in Minnesota with an official varsity esports team. Some students on the team even get partial scholarships, funded by the university. “Start it up,” said Logan Hermes as he hovers over two rows of high-tech gaming computers, about half of which have a team member seated in front.
There’s no ball or bat here, nor is this a gym or field. But in this digital arena the competition, preparation, and teamwork help put the athlete in “student-athlete” at Concordia University, St. Paul. “What we’re doing here isn’t just a fad,” said Hermes, the head coach for Concordia’s esports team. “They’re not taking two hours out of their day just to play a game. They’re building something with a group of people in the same aspect you would build any other traditional team with, whether it be soccer, football or baseball.” Esports, or competitive gaming, is not recognized as an official NCAA sport. That’s why Concordia St. Paul is part of the National Association of Collegiate Esports, a nonprofit membership organization.
It currently has more than 170 participating schools with more than 5,000 student-athletes nationwide, like Concordia University sophomore Matthew Walker. “It’s a lot of fun and it’s just like any other sport. We have practice three days a week, I have one-on-one (with coach) one day a week,” he said. “It’s the same balance of being able to practice and still having to do all your schoolwork.” Concordia’s team has 20 members, some who walked-on through tryouts earlier this fall and others who were recruited out of high school. If talented enough, some get […]
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