By: Warren Younger
As professional gaming continues to grow, so do the amount of organizations that support it.
Colleges are just one of the many new organizations to do so.
Colleges across the world have started official e-sports clubs, with the purpose of having fun and competing against other colleges for bragging rights and cash prizes.
One of the biggest leagues these colleges compete in is called the Collegiate StarLeague (CSL).
The CSL is the premier collegiate e-sports league in the world with colleges like Arizona State University and even Harvard University fielding teams in this league.
The CSL hosts leagues for the world’s premiere-sports titles which include games like League of Legends, Dota 2, Starcraft 2 and Hearthstone.
The CSL gives away thousands of dollars in scholarship money each season to the winners of each title.
And now Mesa Community College will field teams in the CSL starting next year.
“We have plans to compete in the CSL next semester,” said Angel Escarcega who is the head of the gaming club on campus.
The gaming club at MCC is a club for gamers on campus that want to hang out and compete, with a main focus on just having fun and playing “all types of games”.
The club does, however, know about the potential of e-sports.
“Colleges like Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University give scholarships to e-sports athletes,” Escarcega said.
Colleges across the world are starting to give scholarships to “e-sports athletes” due to the rising popularity of these collegiate leagues and most colleges already have official teams.
Mesa Community College is just one of the many.
“We have a lot of members who joined because we told them about the Collegiate StarLeague” Escarcega said. “The club suffered last year and as a result we have to campaign to get people to join.”
The gaming club was advertising their club along with other clubs outside of the Kirk Student Center but the rain forced them to move inside the center.
Escarcega said that within only an hour of advertising outside the Kirk Student Center, they had 47 students sign up for the club.
The gaming club had a few members on hand taking question and giving answers about the club to anyone who asked and also had a table set up with visuals showing all the games they support.
League Of Legends, Starcraft 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 were just some of the many e-sports they support.
“E-sports is definitely one of the biggest selling points right now” Escarcega said.
Kevin Healy, the faculty advisor for the club and professor at MCC, “very vaguely” knows what the term e-sports is but he supports it.
“I feel games often get a bad reputation because they are thought of as pure recreation. But all games are based on patterns and rules, so they are ultimately exercises in mathematics and logic,” Healy said
Healy is an avid gamer who has played games throughout his life, some of his favorites are Total War and Portal.
When asked if he knew that his club was starting to create e-sports teams and compete in the CSL, he had no clue.
“I know some of the students had talked about investigating tournaments, but I didn’t know it had proceeded as far as picking specific events. I am not familiar with Collegiate Starleague,” Healy said.
For more information about the club, contact Healy or check out the Facebook group “MCC Gaming Club”.