Wednesday, April 5, 2017

News You Can't Use: Video Gaming Becomes a Scholarship Sport at University of Utah

It's extremely important that we encourage America's most talented video game players to use their abilities for the betterment of society as a whole, rather than making endless "watch me play" videos before revealing their Third Reich sympathies and ruining it all. To this end, the Bee Hive State is, as usual, way ahead of the curve by offering scholarship opportunities to the real student athletes of the future: vidiots who are wisely investing the precious gift of life in murder simulators. After all, if we're going to totally pwn foreign newbs in this most important of all arenas it's critical we develop the very best Mormon gamers.

The University of Utah will become the first big-time sports school to offer scholarships for competitive video gaming, so far the most high-profile entry into collegiate esports.

It's much bigger than other "esports" like, ah, building ham radios or whatever. All we need now is academic incentives for "committed self-abuse seven times in one night instead of writing the term paper."

Backed by the Salt Lake City school’s video game development program, Utah’s first varsity esports team will play Riot Games’ popular League of Legends and compete in Riot’s collegiate league. More teams in other games will be announced this year. 

Pffft, call me when you get a Bayou Billy team together.

"We want others schools to join us," said A.J. Dimick, who will run the new esports program. "Let’s move this along together."

Some people think the safe spaces, thought crime laws and general retrograde atmosphere has ruined higher education and it can't get any worse, but I'm here to tell you it can and we need to get this moving along.

Funding for the program will come directly from Utah’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering department, which The Princeton Review named the country’s best video game design program in 2016.

Their alumni were responsible for both the "hit stick" and the "passing cone" options in Dat Madden.

Gamers on Utah’s League of Legends team will all receive partial scholarships at first, Dimick said. The long-term plan is to expand to more games and to make money through marketing and sponsorship deals, eventually offering full scholarships to as many as 35 gamers. 

At least we have our priorities straight.

The exciting future of collegiate athletics.

The University of California, Irvine, recently built an esports-specific arena on its campus, and the Big Ten Conference’s television network earlier this year began broadcasting competitions between club teams from its member schools.

Whether we'll start giving incentives for television viewing remains unknown as of this writing.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

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