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University of Akron Introduces Competive Gaming "eSports" as Varsity Sport

photo of Akron eSports uniform

The University of Akron is joining a handful of schools around the nation in adding a new varsity sport that will allow students to compete in online video games.

eSports or “electronic sports” have been gaining in popularity at Ohio universities with Miami, Tiffin and Lourdes universities all starting programs since last year. Akron’s team will have as many as 35 students, with a club program supporting hundreds more.

University President Matt Wilson says the program will offer social and academic advantages to students, as well as give prospective students a place to compete.

“You’re talking about an industry that is worth well over $700 million that is growing at an incredible pace. I’d rather be proactive as opposed to reactive, and that’s probably one of the reasons why I’m so excited that we’re taking the leap here in being the first in the area to get in the E-sports arena.”

The program includes its own trainers, uniforms, tryouts and scholarships for selected players.