Esports Help Local High School Gamers Play Their Way To College

Esports Help Local High School Gamers Play Their Way To College

Article courtesy of the St. Louis Public Radio

ST. LOUIS, Mo.-- Brandon Clark, the new head Esports coach at Fontbonne University, visited both Francis Howell School District high schools last month. Hired in December, he is forming a Fontbonne University Esports team for fall 2019 to play the popular multiplayer game, "League of Legends."

Clark, who is coaching part time, helped start and manage the team at Missouri Baptist University — another university offering Esports scholarships — where he went to school.

Clark said that universities have yet to develop recruiting prowess when it comes to Esports. He said Fontbonne University's only requirement for the coach position was that an applicant played "League of Legends" for "at least two years."

"Not every school has the budget to hire an ex-pro player, or an ex-pro coach," Clark said. "So it boils down to a lot of schools not even knowing what to look for qualifications."

Along with recruiting students from St. Louis-area high schools, he has reached out to potential collegiate Esports players using the video game's in-game chat rooms. Fontbonne University has also posted in "League of Legends" online forums announcing that it is accepting applications. The university is currently offering $2,000 in annual scholarships to players.

"League of Legends" groups players by their skill levels, called tiers. Clark said most universities require "League of Legends" players to be at least in the fifth-highest tier of the game, a ranking held by 11 percent of the world's 11 million players.

Clark said high school participation gives players an edge when applying for esports scholarships.

"In my mind as a coach, it's easier for me to coach someone who has already been in that team aspect, compared to someone that may have higher skill level," Clark said.

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