HOUSTON – Gamers aren’t just a bunch of lazy bums, they’re athletes.
Electronic Sports is a $700 million a year business and more than 10 colleges already offer scholarships.
The University of Utah, a Power 5 school, just became the latest.
“Some of the colleges indeed its very strict, because it’s a scholarship they want to see that their investment so to speak is paying off in terms of how it’s being displayed and their university is being tied to this venture,” Karen Snyder a Digital Media Lecturer at University of Houston said.
While no school in Texas yet offers an eSports scholarship, the eSports organization at University of Houston has 295 Students on it’s roster.
“I enjoy playing against Texas schools cause like, I know where they are, but like, it’s not as fun when you’re getting owned by west coast teams,” said Ryan Kim Treasurer for eSports at University of Houston.
In between studying everything from Nursing, Psychology, and yes, Computer Science, they hold practice just like other college sports.
And even though they’re not in the same room, they are constantly giving and taking orders over voice chat.
But whether or not we should consider them athletes is up for debate.
“I personally do, some people don’t consider golf as a sport. It’s competing in a sport that does not require physical attributes,” said Jimmy Chan, President of eSports at University of Houston.
“I consider myself an e-athlete, so it’s kinda like an athlete in a way, but it’s just not the same as other people would see athletes,” Kim said.
While no one would turn down scholarship money, what they really want is just to be recognized as an official representative of their school.
“With us, if the University of Houston ever gets to compete on the big stage, and hopefully by that point we’ll be able to represent the university as uh eSports instead of eSports at University of Houston,” said Chan.
E-sports takes center stage on the CW this Thursday night. Players on 15 teams will compete for their share of $300 thousand in the H1Z1 Fight for the Crown. Tune in to see what happens when gamers go pro.