Esports are nothing new to college campuses. You've got plenty of students spending their free time playing games (like I did), and even taking it a step further, there was the creation of organizations like the National Association of College Esports (NACE) and Tespa, which create and support tournaments with collegiate esports players around the United States. A college with a campus-wide esports program that combines a college education, medical research, and esports together? That's something else entirely.
Ohio State University announced a comprehensive esports program that offers undergraduate majors a range of classes in coaching, business management, marketing, and game development, according to the official press release. In a statement sent to TechRaptor, Deborah M. Grzybowski, co-director of Ohio State's game studies and esports curriculum development says:
The game studies and esports curriculum will be one of the first of its kind in higher education, and will include undergraduate and graduate degrees; an elective course in esports content production; online certification programs for specialized credentials and a gaming speaker series.This program will focus heavily on research by utilizing Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center. There, researchers will study "the relationships between the brains, bodies and behaviors of elite esports athletes." James Onate, co-director of the Sports Medicine Movement Analysis and Performance Program at the medical center said "it is imperative that this emerging industry is built around evidence-based research to ensure the health, safety, and longevity of its gamers while helping them perform at their best every day."
Central to that esports experience are arenas for the athletes to play in. The Office of Student Life at Ohio State is creating a brand new arena with over 80 seats - these seats will support computers, consoles and VR. They are including a broadcast booth for aspiring announcers as well.
Under this program, a new league was formed with the Electronic Gaming Federation. Brandon Smith, director of esports in the Office of Student Life at Ohio State told in the sent statement:
...this is a great opportunity to collaborate with other universities and work with game publishers to develop new models. We will continue to value the collegiate experience of balancing academic work and co-curricular activity while creating a competitive environment for our teams. We will make sure that we’re inclusive and diverse in our approach, providing opportunities for all of our students across the collegiate environment.If you're an aspiring esports athlete or want to get involved with the more technical side of the industry, Ohio State University's new program is looking like a great fit for you.
Quick TakeA few years back I took a sports journalism class at my university, where I reported and talked a lot about esports. I made a case that it is becoming mainstream and might be the next big sport. With a college like Ohio State University giving extensive support to esports with this new program, I'm thinking I might be right. Heck, it almost makes me want to go back for a graduate degree.
Would you study esports at Ohio State? Do you think more universities will follow suit and support esports too? Let us know in the comments below!