PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) A private liberal arts college in Kentucky says it will make video games an official sport and start offering scholarships to gamers in the fall.
The move makes the University of Pikeville one of only a few schools in the nation to provide scholarships to those who play ''League of Legends,'' a multiplayer online battle arena game, according to WYMT-TV (http://bit.ly/1tLGEB2).
''It's actually becoming a worldwide trend,'' said Bruce Parsons, Pikeville's new media director. ''This game is five-on-five competitive play. It takes skill, practice and a lot of teamwork.''
Parsons said the school is dedicated to providing different types of technology to its students.
''I think there are going to be a lot of students, both nationwide and international, who are going to look at our university who wouldn't have before,'' Parsons said of Pikeville, a small school.
Graduate Eric VanHoose said he is ready to coach the game, which he described as players competing ''to try and get to the other person's base.''
Pikeville plans will offer 20 scholarships when it begins ''League of Legends'' competition play in the fall.
''It will be a regime a lot like athletics,'' Parsons said. ''They'll have to have a certain GPA. We'll look at them like student athletes. There will be practice time and video time when they have to study other teams for upcoming competitions.''
At least one other school - Robert Morris University in Chicago - has made the game an official sport and offers scholarships.
Information from: WYMT-TV, http://www.wkyt.com/wymtnews