Pikeville University in Kentucky will begin offering athletic scholarships to students who excel at the “League of Legends” video game.
The scholarships can cover up to half of a student’s tuition.
Students who prefer the virtual arena to a football stadium are in luckâ€”at least at Pikeville University.
Pikeville, a small private university in Kentucky, is declaring video games a sport and will offer athletic scholarships to students who play â€œLeague of Legends,â€ a free online game in which two teams of five players compete in a virtual arena.
â€œThe game requires a lot of strategic thinking, study, and competitive play,â€ Bruce Parsons, Pikevilleâ€™s new media director told Campus Reform. â€œPlayers not only need to know how to execute their own moves, but also evaluate opponents strong suites and moves.”
Parsons, who is a self-described â€œlife-long gamer,â€ is spearheading the new scholarship program.
Students applying for the scholarship will be considered based on a number of criteria, including GPA, work ethic, and gaming ability. Beginning in the fall of 2015, Pikeville will offer 20 scholarships which could cover up to half of a studentâ€™s tuition cost.
This is not Parsonsâ€™ first time bringing technology and young people together as he also serves as the founder of theHOLLER.org, a social learning network that introduces Appalachian youth to new technologies.
Robert Morris University in Chicago offers a similar scholarship program led by Kurt Melcher, the schoolâ€™s associate athletic and e-sports director.
â€œLeague of Legends is a competitive, challenging game which requires a significant amount of teamwork to be successful,â€ Melcher told Campus Reform.
Created in 2009, League of Legendsâ€™ immense popularity has prompted profession and collegiate leagues across the world. The collegiate league includes more than 103 colleges and universities across the country.