Photo by Santiago Ochoa
UM-Flint has announced the formation of an esports team for the Fall 2020 semester.
Consisting of teams who play different multiplayer video games against each other, either in person or across the world, esports has been one of the fastest-growing sports over the past decade.
“The rise of esports in higher education is a hot topic right now, and more and more students are looking at esports as an important criterion for selecting a university – either as an academic discipline or a social pursuit,” said Kristi Hottenstein, UM-Flint’s vice chancellor for Enrollment Management.
Equipment and space have been allocated for the team to use for practices and competitions. Within the first few years, the hope is there will be significant interest from students and the team will be recognized as a club sport.
Esports has become a popular activity for other colleges around Michigan as well, with UM-Flint now becoming the 16th school in the state to have one.
“In the next ten years, I expect every university to offer esports to students,” said Jason Gooding, a support specialist in the university’s Information Technology Services, who plans to help lead the team in its first year.
But an esports team is more than just a competition and recruiting tool.
“In many ways, the community and support you feel from an esports team is the same as any other, with emphasis on working with others, social skills, strategic thinking and planning, self-directed learning, and time management,” said Gooding.
Esports can also offer academic benefits for those looking for more than just a competition. Gooding has received interest from students looking to get into game design, marketing, cybersecurity and management.
“The possibility to make aspects of esports an academic discipline is something I hope we’ll explore in the near future,” said Gooding.