Today the University of Utah announced it will be starting up a varsity program for esports, beginning with League of Legends. The school plans to add more competitive games later on as well.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, players can potentially receive partial scholarships by participating in the program. The school’s website broke the news and explained why the school was pursuing an esports program:
“Esports has had a dramatic rise in popularity in the U.S. over the last few years – especially on college campuses,” said A.J. Dimick, director of operations for the U’s new esports program. “We think college esports is a great opportunity and we want our students to be part of it.”
The university claims it will be “the first of the Power Five athletics conference [schools]” to have an esports program.
This is a great and necessary step for esports gaining wider acceptance as sports. It’ll be interesting to see if other major schools follow suit.