WAYNE – As Wayne State College students start to make their way back to campus, a new club sport has quickly grown interest over the summer in the video gaming world.
Wayne State College now offers eSports which is officially recognized as a competitive sport with potential scholarship opportunities.
Nick Sutton is the eSports Coordinator while Campus Recreation Coordinator, John Schwarte oversees the program.
For scholarships, Schwarte said during the first semester and first year the group is looking to see what the interest level is before moving forward with more funds.
“Once we can prove this is going to be a booming club then we’ll start to rearrange our funds to give us scholarships,” said Schwarte. “Right now, that is to be determined just based on how this year goes and obviously with COVID and how all of that plays a factor in our funding.”
Wildcat eSports athletes will compete in the “The Den” which is a $100,000 esports arena with state-of-the-art equipment in the lower area of the Kanter Student Center. “The Den” offers 12 high-end computers that have all the latest and updated specs along with customized gaming chairs with the WSC eSports Cat logo and top-end accessories.
Earlier this week, the Wildcat eSports team competed in an Eastern College Athletic Conference event. Sutton added it was a Valorant Tournament.
“We had students that were representing WSC on the Valorant Team,” Sutton added. “That was our first event in “The Den” and it actually went really well. Everything was very smooth, PCs performed very well and it was awesome.”
Throughout the past few months eSports members have competed in some of the smaller summer leagues that have been hosted by other college clubs to catapult student involvement. Roughly 50 students are on the online server who are interested in the program.
Schwarte mentioned there will be an online eSports interest meeting the first week of classes for others to join the program where information can be found at wsc.edu/esports
“There is an interest form they can fill out and then from there it’ll email us and then we can get in contact with them,” Schwarte mentioned. “But they also can reach out to us directly. Most of them know that we’re hosting it and they have my email. We’ll post it on social media and through our messaging boards that we have for all of intramurals and club sports.”
For esports, WSC is a member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC). The conference involves 57 schools with more than 250 teams playing eight games with no limit to teams in each gaming title. Competition will culminate with a chance at winning the ECAC title.
As interest picks up, Sutton said they’ll see what games will bring the most people in.
“Those are the games we’re also going to focus on and recruit for specifically,” said Sutton. “Then we’re going to have tryouts over the next two weeks after that. Then from there it’s going to be scheduled practices, scheduled scrimmages until the ECAC competition starts up in September.
WSC offers PC gaming only. Games include FIFA, Fortnite, Hearthstone, League of Legends, Madden, Overwatch, Rocket League and Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
Contact Schwarte at 402-375-7481 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or follow @WSCEsports on Twitter for more information.