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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I guess this is where I admit I'm getting old. I first saw this story on "Real Sports" with Bryant Gumbel. This article doesn't do the story justice, but you get the point. If you have HBO, watch the story on demand. Crazy.

Robert Morris University Becomes First To Recognize Video Games As Varsity Sport

Robert Morris University Becomes First To Recognize Video Games As Varsity Sport
Jason Keyser AP 10/06/14 03:37 PM ET
CHICAGO (AP) -- As a teenager, holed up in his bedroom, illuminated by the glow of his laptop, Youngbin Chung became addicted to video games. Ten-hours-a-day addicted.

His grades tanked. His parents fretted.

A few years later, the 20-year-old from the San Francisco area leads a team of headset-wearing players into virtual battle in a darkened room at a small private university in Chicago. He's studying computer networking there on a nearly $15,000 a year athletic scholarship -- for playing League of Legends, the video game that once jeopardized his high school diploma.

"I never thought in my life I'm going to get a scholarship playing a game," said Chung, one of 35 students attending Robert Morris University on the school's first-in-the-nation video game scholarship.

Once regarded as anti-social slackers or nerds in a basement, gamers have become megastars in what are now called esports. In professional leagues, they compete for millions of dollars in prizes and pull in six-figure incomes for vanquishing their enemies in what have become huge spectator events packing tens of thousands into sports stadiums around the world.

Games have evolved from the days of Pac-Man and Donkey Kong into something much more complex. They demand hyper mental acuity and involve multiple players communicating with each other in teams, plotting strategy, predicting opponents' moves and reacting in milliseconds.

Robert Morris, a not-for-profit university with about 3,000 students, believes those are not so different from the skills one uses on a football field or a basketball court and that spending money to recruit these students, too, will enrich campus life and add to its ranks of high-achieving graduates.

"It's coming; it's coming big time," Associate Athletic Director Kurt Melcher said of the esports trend and what he's sure is its looming recognition by a b***** chunk of the collegiate sports world.

Hundreds of other colleges and universities have esports clubs, but Robert Morris is the first to recognize it as a varsity sport under its athletic department. The scholarships, which cover up to half off tuition and half off room and board (worth a total of $19,000 in a typical three-quarter academic year) are for a single game, League of Legends, in which teams of five on five use keyboards and mouses to control mythical fighters battling it out in a science fiction-like setting.

The first practices started last month in a $100,000 classroom outfitted with an expansive video screen, computers and an array of eye-dazzling gaming paraphernalia.

The space is dimly lit and window blinds are drawn to keep glare off monitors. In the darkness, dozens of students wearing microphone headsets flit fingers and thumbs over the controls with blistering intensity and concentration. Death comes in a multitude of forms and is often sudden. Accordingly, the hum of game chatter is punctuated by the occasional whooping cry of victory or anguished sigh of defeat.

The Robert Morris Eagles will play teams in two leagues that include the likes of Harvard and MIT with hopes of making it to the League of Legends North American Collegiate Championship, where the members of the first-place team take home $30,000 each in scholarships.

Melcher dreamed up the scholarship idea while searching online for the video games he used to play.

Some soccer players were bemused, but he said there was no real pushback from the university, which already has scholarships for everything from bowling to dressing as the mascot.

Some 27 million people play League of Legends each day, according to developer Riot Games Inc.

This year's professional championship is Oct. 19 in Seoul at the stadium South Korea built to host the 2002 soccer World Cup. The 45,000 seats are expected to sell out. The top team will take home $1 million.

The traditional sports world is still trying to figure out what to make of the phenomenon.

ESPN has dabbled in esports coverage, but network President John Skipper recently declared it a non-sport.

"It's not a sport," he said at a conference in New York. "It's a competition, right? I mean, chess is a competition, and checkers is a competition. ... I'm mostly interested in doing real sports."

Still, he added, "You can't really ignore it."
 

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yeah it is terrible, why give scholarships to guys that have computer skills that will graduate with skills that can contribute to society when you can give them to guys that can barely spell their own name. They will graduate with the assistance of teachers giving them passing grades so they can play games on the field and then go out into society with no education (because they were passed through school so they can play a GAME).

Sounds logical to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
yeah it is terrible, why give scholarships to guys that have computer skills that will graduate with skills that can contribute to society when you can give them to guys that can barely spell their own name. They will graduate with the assistance of teachers giving them passing grades so they can play games on the field and then go out into society with no education (because they were passed through school so they can play a GAME).

Sounds logical to me.
Ummm... They received scholarships to play a video GAME. The scholarships were given through the ATHLETIC department, NOT the ACADEMIC department. They are not writing code, programming, or networking. They are playing a GAME, just like the guys on the field.

Not sure how you translated playing a video game into "computer skills".
 

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Everyone should find at least one video game they like, get good at it, and compete against someone.
 

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Ummm... They received scholarships to play a video GAME. The scholarships were given through the ATHLETIC department, NOT the ACADEMIC department. They are not writing code, programming, or networking. They are playing a GAME, just like the guys on the field.

Not sure how you translated playing a video game into "computer skills".
you did not get my point at all. playing a GAME (football, etc) is no more important than playing checkers, hopscotch, WOW or any other game. At least the video game players are more likely to have a few brain cells that will be used sometime in the future I suppose.

I personally roomed with an athlete in college that was there on a scholarship. It was like living with a 3rd grader, he could barely function on a grade school level yet he was passed in all his classes so he could do what was important at an educational facility, play a game. Myself and some of my family members worked as tutors at college for the athletic department, the number of barely functioning idiots greatly outnumbered the ones that were there to actually learn. Most of those thugs simply walked in with an attitude wanting all their work done for them and acting like their precious time was being wasted by going to class or having to learn something. It really is pathetic, it is not like college is a learning institution or anything.
 
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