Leveling up for college esports


By MARC PAMPLONA, Staff Reporter |

Amarillo College will be competing against other universities in the United States in gaming tournaments that could lead to scholarships.

Esports is multiplayer video gaming played competitively with millions of people watching live. Collegiate esports is the same as the normal esports, but, instead of a prize of $1,000,000, has a scholarship as the grand prize. 

This past January, AC joined the collegiate esports league and will be competing against other colleges and universities across the nation. The games they will play will include Overwatch, NBA 2K, DOTA 2, League of Legends and more.

Students say having esports at AC will provide an opportunity to win scholarship prizes by participating in an activity that many enjoy in their free time. 

This is also one avenue for gamers to come into college and join an instant group that shares their interests. 

Chris George, a computer science instructor and group sponsor, said the program will also help students’ academic performance and graduation rates. “So if we recruit you to go to AC, it has already been proven that if you join a club, you have a greater chance to succeed in college.” 

Esports has many similarities to traditional sports, such as basketball or football. George compared being a captain in collegiate esports to being a football quarterback.

“Think about it like you’re the quarterback and you will be leading the team in a football game. It’s the same with esports, you will be the leader of the team,” he said.

George explained that collegiate esports players’ experiences are similar to those of other college athletes. They will practice after class; they will study; they will be going to competitions and, if the students are really good players, colleges and universities will recruit them. 

Students who can take their teams to the finals tournament will bring recognition and publicity to their schools.

Allan Herron, a computer information system major and coach for the collegiate esports team, said he is happy about AC’s participation. 

He said that if the program becomes successful, he might pursue a different career path.

“I’ve thought about where I could go,” Herron said. “Less off programming and maybe do coaching and stuff like that.”

Some students said they believe esports will be a huge benefit for people who enjoy gaming. Waiel Bagh, a mass media major, said that the program will motivate students.

“If it’s just for scholarship that is giving them money and so forth to further their education, then yeah it would definitely motivate them,” Bagh said. “I guess that adds to their motivation because now there is an avenue that has opened up for them directly through gaming that allows them to get something that they could not normally.”

For more information about the collegiate esports, send an email to esports@actx.edu or look for Chris George in his office in Byrd, room 342.

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