GREAT FALLS- Whoever said video games are not a sport has not heard of an eSports team.
The new eSports team at the University of Providence (UP) in Great Falls is bringing competitive gaming to the college.
The UP eSports team was established this past fall semester after the university’s president and athletics director attended a conference and learned more about eSports teams across the country.
eSports teams, which are competitive online gaming through colleges, is new as a whole.
Aaron Stucker, the UP eSports Head Coach, was previously involved in competitive gaming, which is why he was asked to help start up the program. He added that eSports teams have substantially grown over the past five years or so.
“I would be disappointed in myself if I knew the institution I was working at was going to start competitive gaming and I didn’t at least try to help,” he said.
The UP eSports team currently has four different competitive gaming options. These games include: League of Legends, Overwatch, Fortnite and Counter-Strike.
During the fall semester, being a newer team, they have so far just done scrimmages. But this semester they will start competing.
Competitions are done online through the NACE, the National Association of Collegiate eSports.
There are over 100 schools apart of the NACE from across the country.
Many schools also have eSports clubs or organizations that aren’t apart of the NACE, but can still do competitions other ways.
Games through the NACE are considered either a spring sport or a fall sport. Certain games only have competitions for certain games at certain times of the year.
The University of Providence eSports team currently has 10 members, but it is actively recruiting for the next fall semester. It hopes to add another five to 10 members.
“I think that we’re just really excited to start the program, really looking forward to recruiting some students. We’re really thankful for the support we’ve had from our AD and our president and really everyone within our athletics, basically campus-wide,” Stucker added.
Story by Kasey Herman, MTN News