Play video games, get a $19,000 annual scholarship for college? The idea seems preposterous. However, in an age when gamers can earn a yearly six-figure salary playing the video game League of Legends, suddenly the thought doesn’t seem as crazy.
Kurt Melcher, associate athletic director at Robert Morris University in Chicago and a gamer himself, came up with the idea to give scholarships to gamers while searching the web one day. He figured that since the school already doles out 1,400 athletic and activity scholarships as a method of recruiting and keeping students on the enrollment roster, that the uber-popular sport of gaming would be a popular draw for the university.
The school will offer between 45 and 50 athletic scholarships to League of Legends gamers, LoL is a multiplayer battle-arena video game.
Robert Morris will become the first school in the United States to offer athletic scholarships to gamers. If you’re asking yourself, “is gaming really a sport?” Melcher thinks that it is, “It’s a team sport. There’s strategy involved. You have to know your role in the game. Obviously it’s not cardiovascular in any way, but it’s mental. There are elements that go into it that are just like any other sport.”
Dude students are getting full ride scholarships to college for playing league of legends I grew up in the wrong generation man.
— [TapX]nation (@tapXnation) June 23, 2014
A college is now offers scholarships for League of Legends. Kids everywhere rejoice for the ability to convince their parents to play more.
— Jeff Yakencheck (@evirstra) June 19, 2014
University President Michael Viollt believes that the scholarship will bring technology-minded students to the university. The school has already received hundreds of interested applicants in the week since the news broke. Viollt sees the scholarships as a way to captivate students, “I don’t care if it’s chess club or ice fishing. We want these kids to be engaged in something they love.” He added, “It’s about the lessons people learn in sports. We just think all these activities add up to an enriched education.”
League of Legends is currently the most popular video game played in the United States and Europe. It is designed for team-based, large-scale battles. The best LoL players in the world are considered celebrities in gaming circles, some even earn over a $100,000 a year.
Robert Morris is currently seeking a coach for the prospective fall gaming team.
Image via Facebook, League of Legends