eSports scholarships

eSports players receive hundreds of thousands in scholarships to schools

Aaron Melville, Copy Editor

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In the 21st century, it seems that almost anything is possible. But did you think that you could receive a scholarship for playing video games? 

Scholarships have been around for as long as we know it, but are typically geared towards merit, athletics or based on need. Today, this isn’t the case. There is now a new subcategory for scholarships: E-Sports. While most universities don’t have a eSports team or offer scholarships for eSports students, they’re rising in popularity, especially in high schools.

Two local schools, Columbia College and Stephens College offer eSports scholarships, with some larger schools, including Kent State University in Ohio and University of California – Irvine offering scholarships to eSports players. According to their website, Columbia College was one of the first schools in the nation to host and recruit members for an eSports team, offering a total of up to 250 thousand dollars in scholarships offered to players. 

Anousa El-Walid, President of the eSports team, has received scholarship offers from several schools in eSports, including Central Methodist University, Missouri Baptist University and Park University. 

“I joined my sophomore year as a varsity jungler,” El-Walid said. 

Regarding her history with eSports and gaming, she stated “I got into eSports my sophomore year, when Ukatsu, a local eSports league, started hosting exhibition matches at high schools. I joined mostly out of curiosity, and eventually I started to step up.”

El-Walid’s main goal of the eSports team was to grow the team, which she feels is successful. The Battle High School eSports team has several members playing for them this year. 

“I’ve done much to build up our community so that we can have a strong program,” El-Walid said. 

She feels that it’s important that eSports scholarships are offered. 

“A schools eSports scholarship opportunities should be in line with the goals of the program,” El-Walid said. 

She adds that it can be beneficial to the industry. 

“More successful programs also recruit for eSports production, which leads to many career paths in the 138 billion dollar industry,” El-Walid said.  

eSports scholarships are not necessarily for everyone. While people join eSports teams to play the game and compete against other people, the chance of a scholarship may not entice them.

Caleb Foster, senior player for the eSports team, says that he only wants to play for fun, not money. 

“I play eSports for fun. I would not want to be locked into a contract and a college for this,” Foster explained. 

Playing for fun is the most important thing to eSports, as that is the main goal. But, there’s always that option of getting money for playing  video games competitively.