Midland University, located in Fremont, Neb., announced that eSports will be added as their 28th varsity sport next fall.
“This is a rapidly emerging form of championship competition and we will pursue the same level of excellence we expect in the other 27 varsity programs we offer,” athletic director Dave Gillespie said in a statement. “We want to see all of our teams well coached, enhancing character, and building community.”
The Warriors' eSports team is expected to debut in the 2016-17 school year and will have student-athletes on scholarship. The university will also offer free room and board for the to those accepted onto the team by June 30th.
The varsity team plans to compete in the popular “League of Legends” video game as part of the Collegiate Star League. The league already has 200 institutions with club level teams and varsity-level programs.
"We've had a quality gaming team for some time, and I believe this program will take us to a new level," Diamond 5 ranked League of Legends player and Midland student Joey Evans said. "This program is great for students who excel at games, and they will have the camaraderie of their team throughout their college years."
The university has started its search for the program's first head coach. Midland also plans to improve its current gaming area with a state of the art, competitive gaming area.
The other varsity teams compete in the Great Plains Athletic Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).