HOUGHTON, Mich. – Planning is underway for a varsity esports program at Michigan Technological University. Michigan Tech will be the first public university in the state to offer esports at the varsity level when competition kicks off in the 2020-21 academic year.
"We're always looking for ways to both grow as a University and offer new opportunities for students," said Suzanne Sanregret, Michigan Tech's director of athletics. "Esports is an emerging field, and it's also one of the fastest-growing areas of competition internationally."
Esports are organized, multiplayer, online video game competitions — often viewed by nonparticipants both in-person and via livestream. The esports program at Michigan Tech will be affiliated with the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE). Michigan Tech Athletics has begun the search for a program director and is developing plans to renovate two racquetball courts in the Student Development Complex into a gaming arena.
On a national level, esports is one of the fastest-growing trends to hit collegiate athletics. More than 130 colleges and universities, as well as 3,000-plus student-athletes, belong to NACE, which offers more than $15 million in scholarships and aid.
At Michigan Tech, gaming and computing are an integral part of the culture. On July 1, 2019, the University launched the state's first College of Computing. Information gathered in first-year courses indicates that approximately 70% of the student body identify as gamers. Husky Game Development is one of Tech's most popular Enterprise programs, and Gamers Anonymous, the University's official student gaming organization, participates at multiple conventions and conferences annually.
"I'm very excited to offer students another way to make gaming a supported part of their Michigan Tech experience," Sanregret said. "Competitive gaming requires an inclusive environment where all feel welcome, and that will be at the forefront of our recruitment strategy. We're eager to begin."
To learn more, visit the Michigan Tech Athletics esports webpage.