Your Kid Could Be the Next Star Collegiate Athlete ….. Playing Video Games?
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.
|Ashland University||Ohio||Division II|
|Averett University||Virginia||Division III|
|Boise State University||Idaho||Division I|
|Central Methodist University||Missouri||NAIA|
|Coker College||South Carolina||Division II|
|College of St. Joseph||Vermont||Division II/NAIA|
|DigiPen Institute of Technology||Washington||N/A|
|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|
|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|
|Lebanon Valley College||Pennsylvania||Division III|
|Lees-McRae College||North Carolina||Division II|
|Maryville University||Missouri||Division II|
|Miami University||Ohio||Division I|
|Missouri Baptist University||Missouri||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|
|Southwest Baptist University||Missouri||Division II|
|St. Ambrose University||Iowa||NAIA|
|St. Clair College||Ontario||OCAA|
|St. Thomas Aquinas College||New York||Division II|
|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.