The University of Pikeville has become one of the small number of American institutions of higher learning to add competitive gaming to the list of sports programs they offer scholarships for.
Yahoo! News spoke to coach and alumni Eric VanHoose, as well as Pikeville’s new media director Bruce Parsons, about the program, which plans to offere 20 scholarships for players matriculating in the Fall 2015 semester.
“It will be a regime a lot like athletics,” Parsons said. “[Students will] have to have a certain GPA. We’ll look at them like student athletes. There will be practice time and video time when they have to study other teams for upcoming competitions.”
Presumably players will also be held to certain standards of behavior in game and out, as are many student athletes in traditional sports.
While I have no doubt that the University will create and manage a competitive League of Legends team, I can’t help but feel that the creation of the scholarships are more about directing curious attention, and perhaps some gaming-related sponsorship dollars, towards the school, rather than an entirely sincere appreciation for gaming as a sport. But then, the same could be said about college football in many places, I am sure.