Kent State University has joined a rapidly growing movement around the country and started an eSports program to recruit video gamers and form a team to compete against other schools.
Kent State held its first eSports tournament on Saturday, complete with play-by-play announcers, fans in the stands and an online stream of the six-person teams playing the shoot-em-up game “Overwatch.”
Steve Toepfer is a professor of human development who is coordinating the school’s program. He says there has been some pushback from faculty who view the team as endorsing a sedentary activity for students.
“They’re already doing it whether we had the program or not. But with the program in-place, we can monitor them better. We can try to help them be more well-rounded.”
Toepfer says that includes requiring players to participate in at least one physical activity – such as yoga – during the semester.
“These guys want so badly to put on a jersey – which they’re going to be able to do – and then go after Akron. They want to compete against these other schools and represent the university. And they had no other outlet to do that.”