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.