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More College eSports Scholarships, This Time At Midland University

Colleges and universities from all over the country are adding eSports to its list of intercollegiate athletic programs. Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska is taking it a step further, joining Columbia College, Robert Morris University, the University of Maryville and the University of Pikeville in offering scholarships to their virtual athletes. Midland University will launch eSports as its 28th intercollegiate varsity program this fall.

eSports draws an unprecedented amount of viewers.

As competitive as eSports is, it was never taken very seriously until recently. With prize pools in the millions of dollars range and athletes earning hundreds of thousands of dollars within a season, colleges and universities are finally catching on. Midland University is one such school, and it seems it understands that the time, dedication and fulfillment students gain from traditional extracurricular activities such as sports and performing arts is similar to that of eSports.

“At Midland, we enable students to pursue their passions in community,” said Midland University President Jody Horner. “Whether they are participating in traditional athletics, the performing arts, or emerging eSports, we find that students who are highly engaged in extracurricular activities are more successful academically.”

Midland also believes that higher education should be accessible to those interested in technologically-driven fields, and offering eSports scholarships might just attract such students. To wit, the (presumably) skilled gamer competitors that the university attracts will also be given free room and board on top of the academic scholarships they receive.

Midland also plans on renovating the campus gaming facilities; the Midland Warriors, the university's gaming organization, will receive a revamped competitive gaming arena. So far, the Warriors have a competitive League of Legends team, and they will explore other games soon.

Alexander Quejado is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom’s Hardware and Tom’s IT Pro. Follow Alexander Quejado on Twitter. 

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  • f-14
    pc gaming and console gaming is going downhill as the games become suckier despite newer tech and expanded capabilities, it;'s the same old garbage made 30% different with more% of the differences being more often then not parts of the game removed of the game it was copied from.
    mech warrior and gunmetal gave me such high hopes and then the fps COD/Battlefield ruined everything.
    we should be playing games like macross/robotech how they were portrayed in the shows from an X-wing vs. Tie fighter point of view.
    Reply
  • Narcissistic_Martyr
    Well... it's no dumber than getting a scholarship because you can throw a ball really far I guess,
    Reply
  • atwspoon
    Remember the youtube videos of macro/micro-economics taught via starcraft broodwar? ohhh man. I would take that class any day.
    Reply
  • joz
    pc gaming and console gaming is going downhill as the games become suckier despite newer tech and expanded capabilities, it;'s the same old garbage made 30% different with more% of the differences being more often then not parts of the game removed of the game it was copied from.
    mech warrior and gunmetal gave me such high hopes and then the fps COD/Battlefield ruined everything.
    we should be playing games like macross/robotech how they were portrayed in the shows from an X-wing vs. Tie fighter point of view.


    I don't think Battlefield ruined anything - it actually is a good gaming platform for all its' releases. Sure, some of them weren't as great - Hardline is terrrible and BF3 is meh. But Bad Company, and Bad Company 2, Battlefield 2142, and Battlefield 4 were and are still amazing games that each offered great experiences and interesting new mechanics.And with BF WW1 coming out soon, I expect even more goodness.

    As for COD, now that's the great rehash game of the century. Been the same for a half dozen titles, with only the skins changing. (And a robot, or two here and there.)

    X-Wing vs. Tie has gone the way of the dodo because people are dumb and can't really handle 3D battlefields - there's a new generation of dogfightning games (Warthunder, mostly.) but they aren't that popular with the newer gaming generations - older generations, and military fans, yes.

    Then there's the million DOTA/LOL clones and spin offs. Hearthstone doing its best to make people think RNG = skill, and side-scroller rage fests such as Boshy that are coming out one after another to try and be the "hardest pixel-perfect platforming game."

    Counterstrike Siege is a great game (I think,) but it's unpopular compared to games like COD, and LOL/DOTA because it takes to much brain power to play effectively - and gamer's brainpower on average seems to be decreasing. Or, that's just my confirmation bias when I watch some of these "pro" gamers bumble about and get lucky and call it skill...
    Reply
  • dalauder
    Well... it's no dumber than getting a scholarship because you can throw a ball really far I guess,
    Keep in mind that anyone who plays a college sport can't really have a job or internship. They really are giving up a lot for the school (and themselves).

    I'd be willing to go with you on questioning athletes getting admitted for throwing a ball well. But they certainly deserve room/board compensation.
    Reply
  • wifiburger
    lol esports scholarship, now that's funny, granted I only watched halo and gears esports it wasn't fun to watch and i'm sure it's not fun to play it either,

    gears being the worst online game I've ever seen, as a player of gears I can tell you that game doesn't belong on eports, it's pure unblanced random lag junk
    Reply
  • ikaz
    The thing is scholarships for any sports are for the most part used to get money from alumni as well as general attendence for the college. If you look at most large schools if they have a good sports program they get lots money from alumni which is why normally the football coach makes way more money than the Dean of school. The question is will esports boost the school attendence and increase revenue.
    Reply
  • hellwig
    I don't know how I'd feel paying to go to a school, or working my butt off getting academic scholarships, knowing that the jerk in class next to me is getting a free ride for being "good at games". What's the national ranking system, or where is the pool of talent scouts and recruiters?

    At least in traditional, physical sports, you generally have a nationwide network of people analyzing and ranking the athletes. How do they know WHO to recruit?

    And just like real sports, what happens to the 99% of "eAthletes" who don't get a job playing games for a living after college?

    And finally, I didn't play any sports in college, I still technically have four years of eligibility. Just throwing that out there.
    Reply