With esports’ rapid growth financially and in popularity, it might not be long before the NCAA recognizes it as a team sport.
Collegiate esports has begun to gain global traction with the debut of a League of Legends Varsity League in the Philippines. The league plans to begin offering college scholarships next year with a goal to “grow collegiate esports, not only as a league, but as a tool for education.”
In the U.S., many schools are getting involved with esports at both the high school and collegiate level. For the NCAA to get involved in esports, Title IX compliance will need to take focus. Michael Brooks, National Association of Collegiate Esports executive director, doesn’t think the NCAA will jump into esports just yet, but collegiate esport programs should comply with Title IX regardless.
Encouraging women to participate in esports programs that are typically male-dominant represents a challenge. Overwatch player Maggie Borland captains Boise State’s esports team. Borland is the first female esports college team captain and could help inspire more women to compete.
The esports explosion also means the sport could be involved in the 2024 Paris Olympic games. At a recent Olympic summit, members agreed “competitive eSports could be considered as a sporting activity, and the players involved prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports”.
The NCAA board of governors are scheduled to meet today at UCLA to discuss esports and its future. Christopher Radford, the associate director of public and media relations for the NCAA, told ESPN, the committee “will continue the conversation at their meeting later this month to understand the NCAA’s potential role.”