Did you ever think the day would come when playing video games would be the reason why someone was able to pay for an education? There are a few private institutions that have taken the leap and are now offering e-sport scholarships for their students to pursue both their gaming and academic goals, but UC Irvine will be the first public, state-run school to make e-sports a legitimate way to pursue an education through their League of Legends scholarship.
It is no surprise League of Legends is spearheading this movement, since it is one of the most (if not the most) popular games in the world, painting e-sports in a light similar to that of any other sports that come with the fine print that if you’re good enough you can get a free education.
University of California, Irvine isn’t getting nothing out offering this scholarship as a developer will be fronting the bill for a PC cafe, similar to Korean PC cafes, to provide aspiring league players an environment to hone their skills (and most likely play other games). UC Irvine also hopes this will bump them up as a lot of students’ first option when applying to colleges; they’re hoping this leap into e-sport scholarships will paint them as a gamer friendly school and in turn provide them with more student applicants. They’re hoping to use League of Legends to both make their current students happy and entice new ones.
Mark Deppe, Assistant Director at UC Irvine, “…hopes to expand to other e-sports…but is not sure what games [they] could consider.” He goes on to explain that their school is pretty good at Smash Bros. and would be interested in pursuing that.
Riot Games remains humble with the announcement of this big news concerning League of Legends and although they are not sure if e-sport scholarships will become as popular as other sport’s scholarships they will continue to support this movement.