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E-Sports Scholarships and the NCAA

Brutal ironies are but one of many things capable of causing content to be posted here. A few months ago, Chicago’s Robert Morris University announced that it would be offering four-year athletic scholarships to League of Legends players. Here’s the bigger Times piece on the growth of E-sports: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/31/technology/esports-explosion-brings-opportunity-riches-for-video-gamers.html?_r=0

And a shoutout to Ben Wu, recently profiled on CNN Money about his career: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/28/investing/ben-wu-dota-video-games/

So what’s the irony? Well, going back to the Robert Morris e-sport athletes. they’re not only getting guaranteed scholarships for a number of years (which most traditional sport scholarships do not offer, being renewable on a year-by-year basis), but they’re allowed to keep their winnings from outside tournaments and events. NCAA athletes are not allowed to profit in any way from their athletic activities, or they would lose their ‘amateur’ eligibility and their teams/schools would be punished.

So if gaming isn’t a sport, or shouldn’t be, why are the first batch of e-sport scholarship athletes given benefits that NCAA players in traditional sports are forbidden from?


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