Huh: School Offering Real League Of Legends Scholarship

By Nathan Grayson on June 20th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

Want to get paid to play videogames? Well TOO BAD, THAT’S MY JOB. But getting a college scholarship on pure League of Legends e-athleticism offers similar benefits, I imagine, if not my incredibly sexy lifestyle of mashing out stories on my crumb-ridden keyboard and clothing my repulsively hairy lower half on whenever I sense an intruder approaching my room. But yes, Robert Morris University in Illinois is hoping to establish a varsity e-sports team, and there’s tuition money on the table if you’re good enough.

Here’s how RMU, whose mascot is a not-very-flatteringly colored eagle, describes it:

“Although eSports have long been a part of the culture of gaming, competitions have seen a large surge in popularity in recent years.  Robert Morris University recognizes the value and legitimacy of eSports and is excited to add eSports to its already rich athletic program.”

“Robert Morris University is in the process of recruiting students for the first year of competition, beginning with the fall quarter in September, 2014. RMU will join the Collegiate Star League, made up of 103 institutions of higher learning and compete against other universities including Arizona State, George Washington, and Harvard.  Significantly, Robert Morris University is among the first in the nation to offer substantial scholarships for members of the first RMU Varsity eSport League of Legends team. Qualified gamers can earn scholarships of up to 50% tuition and 50% room and board.”

Not bad. And you’ll get to call yourself An Eagle and play League of Legends against George Washington. It actually says all of that. I’m not making it up – only manipulating words to make them sound more outrageous than they are.

Still though, if you needed any more evidence that e-sports are a big deal, there you go. It’ll be interesting to see if any other schools give this a go, especially since uni years are basically e-sports players’ professional primes. After that, reflexes begin to slow down ever so slightly, but at that level of competition it’s a kiss of death. Given how much pros need to practice and promote themselves, time for higher education tends to be limited.

But this wouldn’t be pro League. It’ll just be college sporting. If you’re going all-in on LoL, a pro career seems like a better idea. If, however, someone’s number one priority is school but LoL is a close second, I could see this sort of thing being useful. Now I wish my college would’ve had a World of Warcraft team.

No I don’t. If it did, I’d just be standing here telling you how I was nearly the best in the world, but then a knee injury wrecked my all-star potential. I coulda been something, you know. I coulda been something.

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29 Comments »

  1. Syra says:

    Still trying to figure out what your repulsively hairy lower half is referring to….

    • RedViv says:

      It just means Nathan’s body has hair. Anything may pale to the point of repulsiveness in contrast to the glorious mane of the Grayson.

  2. GernauMorat says:

    Scholarships should be based on academic potential/achievement, NOT sport (of any kind).

    • Tatourmi says:

      I think the reason they do this is because they consider sport an academic potential/achievement.

      Sport also seems, from a “foreigner” point of vue, like an integral part of the university and high school culture there. Mens sana in corpore sano I guess. Also cheerleaders.

    • misterT0AST says:

      At least Football, Chess and Bowling aren’t copyrighted products owned by a single company. This is a bit worse.

      One can argue that “knowing how to play hockey in depth” is a general knowledge/virtue or something, I have a hard time admitting that “knowing Riot Games Incorporated’s product (including its current changes and promotions) in depth” can be considered as a general skill. And yet, this is the world we live in.

      • Tatourmi says:

        In all honesty I think one could argue quite painlessly that both are on par with one another, with a simple counter factual argument: Let’s put ourselves in a world where hokey IS owned by a company. Would it change the activity of hokey itself? No, the moves, the strategy, the physical nature of the game would be exactly the same. You accepted the knowledge of hokey to be “something of a general skill”, I think you’ll have to accept then that it has nothing to do with the fact that the sport is or is not owned by a company.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          It would make hockey more hokey, but no difference otherwise I guess.

        • P.Funk says:

          That’s not true at all. No sport, none of them, are owned by a single entity and the entire game is not carefully balanced by them either. You won’t get sued for infringing on the intellectual property of another company’s product for starting your own league either.

          Whatsmore the kinds of direct control and changes in the game with respect to LoL is far more in the hands of the developers than its in the hands of the players. There’s simply not enough flexibility in LoL to allow for the kind of development in strategy and style seen in the last 50 years of football or hockey or footie.

      • JFS says:

        What a confusing land this is.

    • particlese says:

      I strongly tend to agree, but I’ll grudgingly admit that one argument for university-sponsored spectator events* (sports, music, …) is that they can bring in paying spectators whose money can theoretically be used to sustain or improve all parts of the school, including the brain-oriented bits. Also, some schools (most, I hope) require their athletes to maintain respectably high or above-average academic performance. Sometimes this includes paid-for tutelage, which could be considered slightly unfair, but in the end, the financial resources argument is still there, and we’re left with an intelligent person after their legs explode and they can no longer entertain us.

      *Edit: And good scholarships can attract good players, which in turn tends to attract more spectators who buy more $10 pretzels.

    • Shooop says:

      Academics don’t bring large crowds of people who buy overpriced hot dogs and beer, earning the school lots of money.

    • Carra says:

      I absolutely agree. As a European, it seems to be one of those silly US things. And after seeing Hoop Dreams it’s clear it’s just another way to promote your college and make money.

      • jrodman says:

        Promote your college: yes.
        Make money… questionable.

        For most U.S. schools only football (american) makes a profit, and for some not even that. College basketball is a second placer (makes money for a few), and all the rest are money losers. And there are a lot of “the rest”.

  3. Tatourmi says:

    I wonder why league of legends specifically. E-sports strangest affair is the fact that their sport is owned by a company. And this raises a lot of questions methinks. Pr stunt? Deal? I’d guess there is something seeing there is no other game on “offer”.

  4. OpT1mUs says:

    Like I mentioned bunch of times in countless threads like this “especially since uni years are basically e-sports players’ professional primes. After that, reflexes begin to slow down ever so slightly, but at that level of competition it’s a kiss of death. ” is pure bullshit. Loads of top dota 2 players, which is mechanically even harder game than LoL are 25+. And by top players I mean people like Loda ,Mushi etc. so best of the best.

    Even in SC2 you have people like white-ra who is ~31ish.
    In counter-strike, which is a twitch shooter, where ,arguably, reflexes are most important of all esport games, you still have loads of 25+ year in top teams like NiP.

    People like to parrot that “myth” for some reason more than anything.

    Only reason why there are more teen than mid or late 20s players is that opportunity cost of being a professional gamer gets incredibly high with time, so people who don’t make it quit, and try some other careers. 16 year olds don’t have those problems.

    • jrodman says:

      Does it really not hold true at all for pure shooters like counterstrike? I would expect to see few counterstrike leaders at 30+.

    • jjujubird says:

      SC2 is the most physically demanding of all esports games (not an SC2 elitist here at all, it’s just true) and there aren’t really any examples that fit your argument there. White-ra, while a really awesome/fun community figure, hasn’t been competitive in quite a long time.

      I think experience/intelligence actually matters a lot more than your physical twitch ability in MOBAs vs. RTS’ (which is ironic since the uninitiated would think it would be the other way around) which is why your argument -is- correct with regards to those games.

  5. MichaelGC says:

    How come that RMU Eagles logo is almost identical to one version of the Philadelphia Eagles logo?

    The RMU Eagle has his gob shut, and the Philly version has an extra spiky bit, but they are otherwise basically identical, unflattering RMU colours aside.

    e.g. http://www.layoutsparks.com/1/160646/fly-eagles-symbol-image-31000.html

    • particlese says:

      I noticed that, too, but jeez, that’s even closer than I imagined! Other than the closed mouth and the slightly-less-pissed-off-eye, the differences are pretty subtle. It’s like they yoinked the source file and played around with the vertices and handles for a bit before getting bored and calling it done.

    • Koozer says:

      That eagle looks really quite appalled at something.

  6. Darth Gangrel says:

    Nathan, you don’t need knees to play WoW, a person paralysed up to his waist could play WoW. Also, I disapprove of you mixing Skyrim’s meme-tastic knee-references with referral to WoW. Those are different games, even different genres!!!

    • The Random One says:

      I am appalled he didn’t replace it with a “little finger injury”.

  7. Niko says:

    Why Tetris isn’t an e-sport, though?

    • Moraven says:

      Audience and community, just like how any other game becomes an eSport.

  8. Tatty says:

    So all those times I wrote “I am Elite” at the bottom of job application forms was me being … prescient?

    I’m probably just Dangerous now, though.

  9. Moraven says:

    Polt and some others who attend (or have attended) USA university have sponsors. With college rules typically disallowing sponsorship, will be interesting if this takes off.

    • pepperfez says:

      The NCAA has rules against sponsorships, but that’s a separate (hideous, corrupt, etc) entity. I’d like to think that a newly formed league is a bit more sensible/less evil. That said, I CBA to actually check, so if anyone knows…

  10. Comrade Roe says:

    Well, looks like I need to start getting better at video games if I ever want a scholarship. I’ll never get a scholarship the way my skills are now!