Next time your mom tells you to stop playing video games and go mow the lawn tell her that you are working on getting a college scholarship. Intercollegiate esports is growing so rapidly that now colleges are even giving away scholarships to the top Fornite Battle Royale players. Finally, the gamers are getting the same benefits of the jocks.
Last Wednesday, Ashland University announced that it would offer scholarships for students who are exceptional Fortnite Battle Royale players. Starting in the fall of 2018, the university in Ashland, Ohio, students can get a scholarship to play Fortnite. That’s right, you can get a partial free ride to college for playing a video game.
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Ashland University is the first university to offer scholarships for students who can kick ass at Fortnite. The announcement was made by Josh Buchanan, the university’s head coach of esports. “Fortnite appeals to both the core and casual gaming audience,” Buchanan said. “We’re excited to provide this platform for gamers who want to showcase their skills in a more competitive space. Fortnite facilitates an environment that allows players to get creative, innovate and show off their mastery of their skills.”
Ashland University joined the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) as one of its member institutions last week. There are 66 colleges and universities in the National Association of Collegiate Esports since it was founded in 2016. The schools recruit esports players the same way they would a varsity athlete.
Ashland’s esports team will consist of four-player teams that practice regularly and compete together. Ashland will find worthy gamers through open tryouts. Ashland’s esports team already competes in League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Rocket League. The esports program will offer scholarships of up to $4,000. A year of tuition and room and board at Ashland University costs around $30,000.
Ashland is completely dedicated to esports and a gaming center will be built, featuring 25 gaming stations with gaming PCs, accessories, and peripherals. Ashland University has already bolted down sponsorships with OPSEAT, a gaming chair company, and Sloth Esports, a mousepad company. If you think you’ve got what it takes to earn a scholarship because you’re an assassin in Fortnite, you can fill out a recruitment form and coach Buchanan will contact you if you’ve got the skills. But maybe you can skip college and start making $500,000 a month like Twitch gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins does.