Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Oregeon is taking up the mantle as the first college in the state to offer a varsity esports program.
The initiative was offically announced at a local esports event on February 19th, but the press release issued yesterday gave us more of a detailed look into what's to come this fall. Esports will join a long line of established varsity sport offerings already offered on campus, according to Sarah Freeman, NCU’s associate athletic director and interim esports coach: “NCU is excited to add esports as its 15th varsity sport and we look forward to welcoming the first esports athletes to our campus....The addition of esports puts NCU at the forefront of its burgeoning popularity among young people and its acceptance as true athletic competition.”
NCU will field players for League of Legends and Overwatch, two of the most popular titles on the college level. “For this first season, we will recruit six to 12 esports scholarship athletes who will compete in a regular season and then tournament from a state-of-the-art arena on campus,” Freeman said. “Over time, we will add games such as Hearthstone, Rocket League, Smash Bros, and others to the competitive mix.”
It's unclear if this means that NCU will recruit dedicated players for each game in the inaugural year, or that there will be some overlap (perhaps allowing more multi-talented students to apply?).
Regardless, these esports varsity players "will have the opportunity to earn athletic scholarships to compete, similar to those provided to NCU’s 14 other athletic teams," stated the press release. You can see the recruitment form here.
If you're looking to dip your toes into coaching, NCU is also recuiting to fill the Head Coach vacancy. You can read more about the opportunity on their website.
Welcome to varsity, NCU! We look forward to seeing your teams play in CSL and beyond in the coming years.