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Academic scholarships available for budding professional gamers

The lack of an e-sports governing body in India has made the job of providing cyber athletes with foreign scholarships difficult.

News 05 Oct 2017, 13:55 IST

E-sports scholarships in India could soon be a reality.
E-sports scholarships in India could soon be a reality.

The fortunes of e-sports in colleges could change once and for all. College scholarships, ardent supporters, and even recognition from the educational institutions. This is what’s at stake for young highschool pass-outs, who are looking to build a career in e-sports.

The Robert Morris Universty in Chicago has started to offer 70 per cent educational scholarships to all if its 80 students, who are in the school’s cyber sports teams.

“Video games have evolved into nuanced, technical activities,” Robert Morris University executive director of e-sports at Kurt Melcher was quoted as saying by Fortune.com. “That’s no different than if you have a basketball team of super skilled point guards. It’s relatable in any way—minus the physical exertion.”

At present, as many as 42 schools across the US offer scholarships for e-sports programmes. While the National Association of Collegiate Esports runs the show, their rapid growth is also turning a few heads at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Despite there being a few positive aspects for this, e-sports is something that demands its own set of parameters, with regards to organising the games. One of the biggest difference in e-sports from other sports is that of gender equality.

Both men and women can appear in the same team, although most e-sport athletes are known to be male.

“The fear is they would push e-sports into the model of other collegiate athletics,” said NACE director Michael Brooks. “If true, that has the potential to do a lot of damage.”

However, cyber athletes stand to gain a lot from such scholarships. Not only do they get to hone their skills in the world of gaming, but they also can learn other nuances of managing a team or an event.

“We’re offering support for broadcasting, support for PR and marketing, support for team management, support for community engagement—the full gamut around the ecosystem of e-sports,” Georgia State director of e-sports programme Jay O’Toole said. “Those are skills they’re going to need when they leave here, whether they stay in e-sports or go into the fields of banking or occupational therapy.”

Indian cyber athletes could also hope for such opportunities to get e-sports scholarships in foreign universities. While the lack of an e-sports federation is hindering with the process of sending talented Indian cyber athletes abroad, the large number of gamers who have inquired about such scholarships makes it verymuch possible in the near future.

"The British Embassy in Kolkata has received several inquiries from various colleges about budding esports talent in India. Since there is no current administrative setup here, we aren't aware of how to take things forward. Maybe once a federation for the sport is setup, we can streamline the entire process for the colleges," a senior source British Embassy said to Sportskeeda.

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