College offers 'League of Legends' athletic scholarship - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

University offers athletic scholarship to 'League of Legend' gamers

Robert Morris University Illinois has created the first eSports scholarship in the country for experienced gamers of 'League of Legends.' (Source: League of Legends/YouTube) Robert Morris University Illinois has created the first eSports scholarship in the country for experienced gamers of 'League of Legends.' (Source: League of Legends/YouTube)
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AURORA, IL (RNN) – Hardcore video gamers will have another reason to never leave their consoles and computers ever again.

Robert Morris University Illinois announced the nation's first gaming scholarship to high school-aged gamers and future recruits skilled in the popular game League of Legends.

"Robert Morris University recognizes the value and legitimacy of eSports and is excited to add eSports to its already rich athletic program," a press release from the university said.

RMU Associate Athletic Director Kurt Melcher told ESPN the game "demands team strategy and mental prowess" and recruiting the best players will "deliver the types of committed students who are drawn by scholarships for traditional sports."

League of Legends is one of the most popular electronic sports, or eSports, games in the gamer community. It's a multi-player role playing game with more than 30 million player downloads and more than four million daily players since its 2009 release, according to its website.

Melcher, who will be organizing the varsity sports program, says a coach will even be fielded for the team. The program will begin this September, with the goal to compete at the Riot's North American Collegiate Championship in 2015 for its $100,000 scholarship prize.

"League of Legends is a competitive, challenging game which requires significant amount of teamwork to be successful," Melcher said.

Students who are chosen for the program will receive a scholarship that will take care of 50 percent of the school's tuition, room and board – totaling up to $19,000, according to IGN. The school will recruit 27 players to form three teams comprised of nine people each.

RMU's team will be a member of the Collegiate Star League, and will compete against other college-aged teams from Harvard, Arizona State and George Washington University.

Fielding competitive teams for League of Legends is not something to laugh at – in 2013, developer Riot Games hosted a sold-out championship tournament in the Staples Center in L.A. for a $1 million prize.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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