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 UniversityOhioDivision II
Averett UniversityVirginiaDivision III
Bellevue UniversityNebraskaNAIA
Boise State UniversityIdahoDivision I
Brescia UniversityKentuckyNAIA
Central Methodist UniversityMissouriNAIA
Centralia CollegeWashingtonNWAC
Coker CollegeSouth CarolinaDivision II
College of St. JosephVermontDivision II/NAIA
Columbia CollegeMissouriNAIA
Culver-Stockton CollegeMissouriNAIA
DigiPen Institute of TechnologyWashingtonN/A
ECPI UniversityVirginiaNACE
Embry Riddle Aeronautical UniversityArizonaNAIA
Fontbonne UniversityMissouriDivision III
Florida Southern CollegeFloridaDivision II
Georgia Southern UniversityGeorgiaDivision I
Georgia State UniversityGeorgiaDivision I
Grand View UniversityIowaNAIA
Harrisburg UniversityPennsylvaniaN/A
Hawkeye Community CollegeIowaNJCAA
Illinois CollegeIllinoisDivision III
Illinois Wesleyan UniversityIllinoisDivision III
Indiana Institute of TechnologyIndianaNAIA
Kansas Wesleyan UniversityKansasNAIA
King UniversityTennesseeDivision II
Lambton CollegeOntarioOCAA
Lebanon Valley CollegePennsylvaniaDivision III
Lees-McRae CollegeNorth CarolinaDivision II
Lourdes UniversityOhioNAIA
Maryville UniversityMissouriDivision II
McPherson CollegeKansasNAIA
Menlo CollegeCaliforniaNAIA
Miami UniversityOhioDivision I
Midland UniversityNebraskaNAIA
Missouri Baptist UniversityMissouriNAIA
Morningside CollegeIowaNAIA
Northern Virginia Community CollegeVirginiaNJCAA
Northwest Christian UniversityOregonNAIA
Oregon Institute of TechnologyOregonNAIA
Pratt Community CollegeKansasNJCAA
Principia CollegeIllinoisDivision III
Robert Morris University IllinoisIllinoisNAIA
St. Louis College of PharmacyMissouriNAIA
South Dakota School of Mines & TechnologySouth DakotaDivision II
Southwestern CollegeKansasNAIA
Southwest Baptist UniversityMissouriDivision II
St. Ambrose UniversityIowaNAIA
St. Clair CollegeOntarioOCAA
St. Thomas Aquinas CollegeNew YorkDivision II
Stephens CollegeMissouriNAIA
Stevenson UniversityMarylandDivision III
SUNY CantonNew YorkDivision III
Texas Wesleyan UniversityTexasDivision II
Tiffin UniversityOhioDivision II
Trine UniversityIndianaDivision III
University of AkronOhioDivision I
University of California-IrvineCaliforniaDivision I
University of JamestownNorth DakotaNAIA
University of PikevilleKentuckyNAIA
University of ProvidenceMontanaNAIA
University of South Carolina-SumterSouth CarolinaNJCAA
University of UtahUtahDivision I
West Virginia Wesleyan CollegeWest VirginiaDivision II
Western Kentucky UniversityKentuckyDivision 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.