eSports Scholarships, Are They Real?

How many mothers and fathers have abhorred the games their children have been playing these past few decades? Who today under the age of 35 hasn’t heard “TURN OFF THOSE VIDEO  GAMES!”  Well, maybe parents should rethink their demands to quit playing video games, and encourage their students to play more often, now that high schools, colleges, and professional organizations are sponsoring eSports teams as a most viable and very real competition “sport”.  Surprisingly to those parents, eSports Scholarships are now the norm rather than the exception.

Finding an eSports Scholarship In College Searches

One organization helping students find sports scholarships is NCSA (Next College Student Athlete). For a fee ranging from $500 to several thousand dollars, they match student athletes with college scouts and scholarships, and additionally assist parents in finding schools who are looking for their student’s talents, including basketball, baseball, softball, football, etc. Now, NCSA matches students with college eSports scholarships, ranging from a few hundred dollars to full-ride tuition. See NCSA’s website link,

https://www.ncsasports.org/college-esports-scholarships

In it, NCSA states that “NCSA is built on the belief that all sports—including esports—can help create the path to college and lifelong success. We are the Official Recruiting Services Partner of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE).”

Additionally, they offer links to more in-depth articles such as:

  • What games do they offer eSports scholarships for?
  • How to get recruited?
  • How much will the eSports scholarship be?
  • What colleges offer eSports scholarships?
  • What academic requirements do they require?
  • What to expect during an eSport tryout?

And more…

Additionally, NCSA indicates that the eSports industry is hitting $1.1 billion annually and has a fan base exceeding 454 million in 2019.

What is NACESPORTS?

“The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACEsports) is a nonprofit membership association organized by and on behalf of our member institutions. Together, our members are developing the structure and tools needed to advance collegiate esports in the varsity space. We are collaborating to lay the groundwork in areas such as: Eligibility, Path to Graduation, and Competition & Scholarships. NACE is the only association of varsity esports programs at colleges and universities across the U.S.”  https://nacesports.org/about/

A student or parent can search for a particular video game, and find colleges seeking that gaming expertise. NACESPORTS states that there are over 170 member schools, over 5,000 student-athletes, and, surprisingly, $16 million in student aid!  

For example, on their website, a search for “Fortnite” shows a list of over two dozen colleges and universities seeking students with this gaming expertise.

Also, NACE members hold a national conference each July (since 2016) where they feature sessions and workshops to benefit the eSports programs, both existing and future.

What Kind of Colleges Offer eSports Scholarships?

Surprisingly, some very elite and large colleges and universities in many states around the nation are offering eSports scholarships. One of the biggest schools is the University of Utah. The University of California – Irvine – is the first public college to build a gaming arena, and Stephens College is the first women’s college to sponsor a Varsity eSports team and to offer video game scholarships for women. These are but a few examples of the abundance of colleges and universities offering varsity eSports teams and events.

Who Would Want an eSports Scholarship?

Almost anyone who is an avid gamer may be interested in competing in eSports at the college level, but there are other cases where this could be a student’s best chance at scoring a scholarship. As we all know, not everyone can be a star athlete, or be in the top ten percent of their class, academically. There are academic scholarships as well as science scholarships and scholarships for all kinds of sports.

What about students who are “average”, who never made the team in high school sports, or students with physical limitations, preventing them from any type of athletic competition? Thankfully, most of these students can play video games, and many can compete in high school, college, and in both the local and even national stage. So maybe parents, instead of saying “TURN OFF THOSE VIDEO GAMES!”, should be saying “GO TO THE ESPORTS CAVE AND PLAY THOSE VIDEO GAMES, YOUR COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP DEPENDS ON IT!” 

Find some events to practice your skills HERE!

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Sue Stilwell

Sue Stilwell