You read that right, your kid could be a major collegiate athlete, possibly the next Christian Laettner. Just instead of hitting a last second jump shot in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, they could get a last second Champion kill to win their League of Legends College Championship.

If you are anything like me you have dreamed of your son or daughter growing up being a good student and a multi-sport athlete that would lead to a college scholarship from a good school. Well, the possibilities are ever increasing with the expansion of collegiate sports programs, but don’t be surprised if it’s not basketball, baseball, or any other sport that involves a ball because there is a growing trend of scholarships for good students that are highly skilled at playing video games!

Even as a young kid growing up I can remember adults constantly being excited for new technology and innovation. I cannot count the amount of times I have been told to always be looking for the “next big thing” and to make sure I stayed ahead of the curve on new trends. All too often we don’t look for what we don’t want and I think the majority of parents would say they don’t want their own children playing video games. 

Are eSports really that popular?

Yes! According to a study by Newzoo, the eSports industry is projected to grow 41.3% year over year and generate over $1.5 Billion in revenue by 2020. If your financial planner were to gave you the same information about a stock, I am guessing everyone would would want to invest in it.

Currently there are more than 50 programs with a national governing body, known as the National Association of Collegiate eSports, as the main home for most of those organizations. Given the growth rate, there is a good chance that there will be as many eSports scholarships as there are for most other non-major sports. View the list below of colleges that currently offer eSports scholarships.

School Location Athletics
Ashland University Ohio Division II
Averett University Virginia Division III
Bellevue University Nebraska NAIA
Boise State University Idaho Division I
Brescia University Kentucky NAIA
Central Methodist University Missouri NAIA
Centralia College Washington NWAC
Coker College South Carolina Division II
College of St. Joseph Vermont Division II/NAIA
Columbia College Missouri NAIA
Culver-Stockton College Missouri NAIA
DigiPen Institute of Technology Washington N/A
ECPI University Virginia NACE
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Arizona NAIA
Fontbonne University Missouri Division III
Florida Southern College Florida Division II
Georgia Southern University Georgia Division I
Georgia State University Georgia Division I
Grand View University Iowa NAIA
Harrisburg University Pennsylvania N/A
Hawkeye Community College Iowa NJCAA
Illinois College Illinois Division III
Illinois Wesleyan University Illinois Division III
Indiana Institute of Technology Indiana NAIA
Kansas Wesleyan University Kansas NAIA
King University Tennessee Division II
Lambton College Ontario OCAA
Lebanon Valley College Pennsylvania Division III
Lees-McRae College North Carolina Division II
Lourdes University Ohio NAIA
Maryville University Missouri Division II
McPherson College Kansas NAIA
Menlo College California NAIA
Miami University Ohio Division I
Midland University Nebraska NAIA
Missouri Baptist University Missouri NAIA
Morningside College Iowa NAIA
Northern Virginia Community College Virginia NJCAA
Northwest Christian University Oregon NAIA
Oregon Institute of Technology Oregon NAIA
Pratt Community College Kansas NJCAA
Principia College Illinois Division III
Robert Morris University Illinois Illinois NAIA
St. Louis College of Pharmacy Missouri NAIA
South Dakota School of Mines & Technology South Dakota Division II
Southwestern College Kansas NAIA
Southwest Baptist University Missouri Division II
St. Ambrose University Iowa NAIA
St. Clair College Ontario OCAA
St. Thomas Aquinas College New York Division II
Stephens College Missouri NAIA
Stevenson University Maryland Division III
SUNY Canton New York Division III
Texas Wesleyan University Texas Division II
Tiffin University Ohio Division II
Trine University Indiana Division III
University of Akron Ohio Division I
University of California-Irvine California Division I
University of Jamestown North Dakota NAIA
University of Pikeville Kentucky NAIA
University of Providence Montana NAIA
University of South Carolina-Sumter South Carolina NJCAA
University of Utah Utah Division I
West Virginia Wesleyan College West Virginia Division II
Western Kentucky University Kentucky Division I


But “screen time” is bad, isn’t it?

While I do not advocate extended periods of sitting still in front of a screen, I believe overuse can occur in physical sports as well. Now, the World Health Organization recently classified “gaming disorder” as a disease and by the reaction you would think it to be an worldwide epidemic. However, the WHO also points out the disease applies to less than 3% of all gamers. If we were to apply the same standard to moms on Facebook and dads surfing the internet for the latest ESPN trade rumors I am sure it would be an even higher percentage.

There are always late adopters in every new industry trend, but eSports seems to have more than a few steps on the majority of people in the US. The stigmatization of video games in America is counterintuitive to its principles, and as the self-proclaimed world leaders in everything new, we are falling far behind in the race for eSports superiority. Today more than 50% of all eSports enthusiasts reside in Asia, while the US share is just over 10%. Maybe it’s time we start saying yes a little bit more often when the kids ask if they can play video games.