Esports programs are becoming a staple in college athletics across the country, and Pierce College should create one that can stand out from others.
Some colleges have gaming clubs for students to play video games in a non-competitive and fun setting. Then there are others with full programs that include state-of-the-art facilities with competitive teams and coaching staffs.
There are 175 colleges and universities that are a part of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), according to its website. In 2019, these colleges awarded students about $16 million in scholarships and financial aid.
While the NACE is for universities, there is an association that Pierce would be able to join that is for community colleges that prepares players to compete at the next level.
Pierce could join the California Community College Esports League. Coastline College in Costa Mesa and San Mateo College are the only schools in the league, but Pierce joining could influence other schools in the district to participate as well.
There are many opportunities for students to earn scholarships and degrees in different parts of the gaming industry, and colleges that decided to create programs across the country have had unforeseen success right away.
In June of 2020, Howard Community College in Maryland launched its esports program.
And in November, the school’s League of Legends team won its league championship over undefeated Newberry College from South Carolina.
After the win, Howard’s esports coordinator Mark Winkel said he received emails from prospective students wanting to attend the school to play for their esports team.
With enrollment numbers down, creating an esports program would set Pierce apart from other schools.
During the pandemic, the gaming industry grew because esports became one of the only sports in the world that people could play safely.
With an esports team you do not have to worry about weather, facilities and even pandemics. As long as there is an internet connection, it is game on.