University Of Utah To Offer Varsity League Scholarship

Speaking of schools participating in varsity eSports, the University of California, Irvine, has a dedicated gaming arena for eSports, which attracted a $250,000 investment. And now, at the University of Utah, those ways include being really, really good at video games. It will compete with other, smaller Universities in Riot's collegiate league.

Utah is the first school in the "Power Five" - the five richest athletic conferences in college sports - to offer scholarships for video gaming, lending a high-profile endorsement to the the rapidly-growing industry.

The school's Entertainment Arts and Engineering video game development department will sponsor the esports program. These kids don't need help playing games or help competing.

However, Utah's new program is the first of its kind for a Power Five school and paves the way for bigger schools to offer these programs and scholarships, which is something the school says it hopes to encourage.

Kessler said they see the program as an opportunity to appeal to those outside the EAE department and probably even outside the university.

Gamers on Utah's League of Legends team will all receive partial scholarships at first, Dimick said. "We think it is a great opportunity for our students, the vibrant gaming community here on campus and Utah fans in general to come together and watch these players hone their skills and play competitively to represent our school".

Already, the Big Ten Network has broadcast video game competitions among the conference's video game clubs, which are non-scholarship - at least for now. The long-term plan is to expand to more games and to make money through marketing and sponsorship deals, eventually offering full scholarships to as many as 35 gamers.

The University of Utah has been very fast to adopt gaming as a core pillar of future engineering and art program expansions.

"We expect that this will increase our number of applicants to the university", he said.

  • Leroy Wright