Esports player; “Artosis, Man of ESPORTS” by thedz0 is licensed with CC BY-NC 2.0.
By: Ashley Grasinger
(GREENSBURG, Pa.)- An Esport athletics team is being added to Seton Hill’s athletic program for Fall 2022. Griffin Esports plans on entering the world of online video gameplay by joining the National Association of College Esports in January.
“We are always looking for unique ways to provide for students,” said Brad Messner, Seton Hill’s computer science instructor and department coordinator who is also the person who is in charge of the program as the faculty coordinator. “In some cases, students may feel that sports are a little more exclusive, but with Esports anyone has the opportunity to participate. We were looking for new ways to reach out and connect with students.”
Currently, Seton Hill has plans of creating a gaming center on the lower level of Canevin Hall for this program, planning to be open by the end of the year. The facility will be around 900-square-feet and will have 16 gaming stations with multiple monitors with multi-level seating.
“I am very excited Seton Hill is supporting an Esports program for new and current students that will be housed in Athletics,” wrote Rosalie Carpenter, the vice president of student affairs at Seton Hill University. “It is a great opportunity for students to do what they love in a team environment. I have had the pleasure of touring Esports facilities at other college campuses and found it to be a very diverse and inclusive community. I think it’s a great fit for SHU.”
“This will provide a larger opportunity for students who had not considered higher education before. Something unique to Esports is 85% of students who participate in Esports claim that it is the first time in their life they ever felt included or a part of something. To us, this is a way we can actually bring students who may not have felt included or part of something before,” said Messner. “It also has been shown that within two years of being on an Esports team students in both arts and math have improved skilled sets. We also can see improvements with both quantitative and art-based skill sets.”
Seton Hill already has multiple strong programs within the realm of technology. Many students have technology and computer-based educations including majors and minors such as computer science, cybersecurity, and data science
“This will be a unique addition to the school and will provide more opportunities for scholarships. Scholarships will be available for existing students as well as incoming students. They are based upon academic qualifications, like all other athletes, and gaming skills,” Messner said. “This is a very exciting time. We have been talking to a lot of the local high schools and plan on hosting tournaments in the future where we will be offering winners scholarships from the local schools. We are one of the main schools in the Pittsburgh area that is launching an actual Esports program with a varsity team that can participate in tournaments.”
The games that Griffin Esports is considering as of right now are Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, Hearthstone, and FIFA Soccer.
“The 5 games seem like a good fit. They all are fun, competitive games which even if aren’t popular right now people will still enjoy playing and watching!,” wrote Emma Michaud a Seton Hill student who enjoys playing video games. “Popular meaning I don’t think people are constantly talking about them right now/playing them like if a new multiplayer, competitive video game launched right now.”
“Starting this spring we will be holding tryouts continuing until our launch in the Fall. They will be public and streamed on Twitch so that anyone can join and watch. There will be tryouts for all of the different sports we are currently launching. We have some flexibility so we are not set on having a specific number of students on each game so, we can do tryouts to see what games and what teams students perform best with,” said Messner.
Twitch is an online platform that is used to broadcast and interact with a live audience.
“Most of the tournaments will be broadcasted on Twitch so students who would like to watch do not have to be together especially during covid and social distancing times. Everything, including practices, will be broadcasted through Twitch,” said Messner. “Our goal is to have at least twenty-five students on the team by the fall. We have not set a maximum yet.”
“Twitch is a very good platform to stream on since its very popular and well known for streamers right now,” said Michaud.
“There will be scheduled practices most likely daily where teams will come together and practice their games similarly to how they would during a tournament,” said Messner.
If you are interested in joining the team or would like more information reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at https://www.setonhill.edu/student-life/esports/.