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Kent State University Launches its eSports Program to Attract Gamers

Seven six-person teams competed at Kent State's first eSports competition on Saturday, where the school announced a scholarships for gamers this fall.
KABIR BHATIA
/
WKSU
Seven six-person teams competed at Kent State's first eSports competition on Saturday, where the school announced a scholarships for gamers this fall.

Kent State University has joined a rapidly growing movement around the country and started an eSports program to recruit video gamers and form a team to compete against other schools.

eSports at Kent State

Kent State held its first eSports tournament on Saturday, complete with play-by-play announcers, fans in the stands and an online stream of the six-person teams playing the shoot-em-up game “Overwatch.”

Steve Toepfer is a professor of human development who is coordinating the school’s program. He says there has been some pushback from faculty who view the team as endorsing a sedentary activity for students.

“They’re already doing it whether we had the program or not. But with the program in-place, we can monitor them better. We can try to help them be more well-rounded.”

Toepfer says that includes requiring players to participate in at least one physical activity – such as yoga – during the semester.

“These guys want so badly to put on a jersey – which they’re going to be able to do – and then go after Akron. They want to compete against these other schools and represent the university. And they had no other outlet to do that.”

Copyright 2021 WKSU. To see more, visit WKSU.

Kabir Bhatia joined WKSU as a Reporter/Producer and weekend host in 2010. A graduate of Hudson High School, he received his Bachelor's from Kent State University. While a Kent student, Bhatia served as a WKSU student assistant, working in the newsroom and for production.