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U-Pike Will Offer Scholarships to Start Online Video Gaming Team

A Kentucky school is becoming just the second university in the nation to offer scholarships for competitive video game players.

The University of Pikeville will offer 20 scholarships this fall to students who excel in the online multi-player game League of Legends.

The school in central Appalachia hopes the program will draw attention from prospective students who otherwise wouldn’t have considered U-Pike.

The school’s New Media Director, Bruce Parsons, believes it’s just a matter of time before more American universities offer scholarships to gamers.

“I think there’s a good opportunity for colleges and universities to look at starting e-sports programs at their schools—officially supported scholarship programs. It’s growing very quickly, there’s a lot of attention, and it offers opportunities to students who might not have athletic or others scholarships at their disposal.”

U-Pike will use the scholarship program to field a League of Legends team in an annual collegiate competition that features players from over 200 U.S. colleges and universities.

The gaming scholarships given out by U-Pike will cover up to half of the student’s tuition.

Parsons, says gamers will be considered student-athletes, the same as basketball or baseball players.

“They’ll play League of Legends as their college athletic, but they’ll major in whatever they’re interested in, and be held to the same academic standards as the other student-athletes on campus.”

Given the popularity of League of Legends  in parts of Asia, Parsons believes the school could increase its international student population through the scholarship program.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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