The College to Launch Varsity Esports Team
Published on 15 November 2019
St. Louis College of Pharmacy’s Department of Athletics, Fitness and Recreation has announced that it will introduce esports as a varsity sport at the start of the 2020-21 academic year.
With the launch of the new program, the College will become an official member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), a nonprofit membership organization created to develop the structure and tools needed to advance collegiate esports in the varsity space. As the only existing association of varsity esports programs at colleges and universities nationwide, NACE includes over 170 member schools and 5,000 competitors across the U.S.
“With esports continuing to grow in popularity, and the profile of its participants aligning so well with our academic programs, we felt like it would be a perfect addition to our list of offerings,” said Jill Harter, director of athletics, fitness and recreation at the College. “We are always looking for new ways to expand opportunities for students, and esports is a new component to our program that we think current and future students are going to be very excited about.”
Esports is a form of competitive online multiplayer gaming in which players compete, individually or as teams, in a wide variety of video game titles. In the early 2000s, professional and club esports was established, and since then, esports has seen rapid growth in participation and viewership.
Since 2015, the College has offered students access to a student-led esports club on campus. With the addition of a varsity esports team, the College’s esports club will remain, and interested members will have the opportunity to try out for the varsity team.
“Over the years we’ve had many students who are interested in esports and have joined our esports club,” Harter said. “Our new varsity team will give these students new opportunities to competitively engage in esports.”
A search is now underway for a head coach for the varsity esports team, and a plan is in place to construct an esports facility using existing space on the College’s campus.
“Our new esports team will provide yet another way for current and future students to connect and be involved on campus,” Harter said. “We are very excited about what’s to come as we introduce our varsity esports program.”