You spend all of your time playing video games, and I bet you’d love it if that could help you with other aspects of your life. Well, go get your mom, and tell her that it might help you pay for college.
The University of Pikeville, a liberal arts college in Kentucky, is now the second school in the United States offering athletic scholarships for e-sports competitors. The school announced that it is adding 20 scholarships for League of Legends players looking to continue their gaming career into college. Tuition at the university is $18,840 per year. UPIKE, as the school is known, joins Chicago’s Robert Morris University, which was the first institution of higher learning to add League of Legends as an official school sport.
While some people might think it odd to give an athletic scholarship to someone playing games every day, UPIKE new media director Bruce Parsons explains that League of Legends and other e-sports games test many of the same attributes as traditional sports.
“It’s actually becoming a worldwide trend,” Parsons told local Kentucky news station WYMT. “This game is 5-on-5 competitive play. It takes skill, practice, and a lot of teamwork.”
Parsons also admits that adding 20 scholarships for a megapopular game like League of Legends, which has millions of players worldwide, is a good way of raising UPIKE’s profile.
“I think there are going to be a lot of students, both nationwide and international, who are going to look at our university who wouldn’t have before,” he said.
Parson goes on to explain that student-athletes at UPIKE on a League of Legends scholarship will have to meet the same demands as the basketball or football teams.
“It will be a regime a lot like athletics,” Parsons said. “They’ll have to [maintain a 3.5 GPA]. We’ll look at them like student athletes. There will be practice time and video time when they have to study other teams for upcoming competitions.”