Game on? Ohio college to offer scholarships for playing video games

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 29: Astralis of competes during the ELEAGUE: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship finals at Fox Theater on January 29, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 29: Astralis of competes during the ELEAGUE: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship finals at Fox Theater on January 29, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Talk about being born too soon: A college in northwest Ohio is offering scholarships for video gaming.

Yes, that's right: The Toledo Blade reports Lourdes University in Sylvania (near Toledo) is recruiting men and women to fill eSports teams this fall.

That revelation comes not long after the Big Ten Network announced plans to air a “League of Legends” competition between Ohio State and Michigan State this spring.

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ESPN has already started airing similar programming and launched an entire section on ESPN.com devoted to news from eSports.

Many social media users greeted the first ESPN eSports broadcasts with skepticism (and worse), but the movement seems to be growing.

And that begs at least a couple of obvious questions: Does it make any sense for colleges to get into the game? Are BTN and ESPN crazy for thinking anyone will want to watch it?

To the latter, it probably is no more out of the sync with “real sports” than the World Series of Poker. And it certainly makes more sense than covering professional wrestling, which doesn’t even have real competitions.

In regards to the college’s educational mission, Lourdes president Mary Ann Gawelek told The Blade, “In order to participate in eSports you have to have the mental ability and critical thinking skills to do game-playing in general, you have to have developed the ability to function on a team, and you have to have a competitive nature that drives you toward success. It links well with a liberal arts education.”

Hard to argue with that.

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