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UJ esports: Starting 2017

UJ has joined the National Association of Collegiate Esports and is in the process of creating an esports team. The team roster will hopefully be finalized by the end of May 2017, and begin practices once the fall semester starts.

The UJ team will play five different games, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone, Overwatch and Rocket League, Knutson said. The competitions will be live-streamed online.

Mike Heitkamp, Vice President of Enrollment, said that UJ sent out a survey to prospective students to gauge their interest in esports and received a positive response. UJ admissions representatives were approached at college fairs about esports. This response validated the school’s movement toward an esports team, he said.

The esports program will be run like the other athletic programs at UJ, said Josh Knutson, the Esports Head Coach. The team will meet four or five days a week to practice, go over gameplay and exercise. The exercise will focus on wrists and forearms, but also maintaining fast reflexes. There will also be a focus on a healthy diet, Knutson said.

A scholarship program will be available for esports players. “We are serious about it and want to be competitive,” Heitkamp said. “It’s important to offer a scholarship.”

One of the goals of the National Association of Collegiate Esports is to legitimize esports and ensure players will be treated like college athletes, Knutson said. The association will help players be held to the high standard of other athletes and treated with similar respect, he said.

The academic profile of esports players is in line with the UJ’s mission, many players have high test scores and are academically focused.

The NAC esports is kicking off its regular season with an invitational tournament in spring 2017. Knutson said that UJ is focusing on having a team ready for the regular season.

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Posted:November 1, 2016


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