Professional video game players make a ton of money; the top players in the world raking in millions playing at various tournaments.
And now Robert Morris University Illinois wants to prep students on their journey to becoming video game playing superstars.
The school announced today that it’s adding eSports to its athletic program. And more specifically, the school is building a varsity team to play “League of Legends” as part of the Collegiate Star League, which has 103 teams from other universities competing.
“Robert Morris University has always been at the forefront of providing opportunities for a diverse student population with different interests and skills,” said RMU’s Athletic Director Kurt Melcher in a statement. “‘League of Legends’ is a competitive, challenging game which requires significant amount of teamwork to be successful.”
RMU will also be the first university to offer students scholarships based on previous experience playing “League of Legends.” Gamers can earn scholarships of up to 50% tuition and 50% room and board, which comes out to around $US20,000 per student.
The college is looking to fill around 19 player spots, with around 8 or 9 of them being on a varsity team, according to VentureBeat; the school has already received around 400 inquiries over the last few days.
“We give scholarships for a variety of different interests, along with traditional sports like football, basketball, soccer. So we thought, ‘Why wouldn’t we give scholarships for this?’,” Melcher told IGN.
eSports is quickly gaining in popularity as a legitimate sport. Last year the United States began recognising eSports players as professional athletes by offering them visas. Players not only make money by winning tournaments, but also by being sponsored by big names, such as Coca-Cola.