HSU is first college in the state for official esports team: By next semester, a unique kind of sporting event will be happening on campus


Kabryn Grayson, Student Reporter

We are about to be the first college in Arkansas to have an official esports team offering scholarships for players. So many people play video games that it probably excites you, right? If it doesn’t, you probably know somebody else anxiously awaiting the arrival of esports.

The evergrowing activity of esports takes multi-player, singleplayer strategy games and makes them come to life.

Esports has turned online gaming into a spectator sport. Evo- lution of the sport is thanks to millions of fans. Players take part in their favorite games while the fans watch. Cheering is allowed.

Some attend live events or watch online. Twitch, a streaming service, allows users to live stream video games. Story By Kabryn Grayson Student Reporter Games waiting to be played include “League of Legends,” “Call of Duty” and “Fortnite.”

“It’s another way of competing, of forming a community,” John Price, director of esports and professor of communication, said. “I made friends when I was fifteen that I still have now well into my thirties.”

After working in a professional esports organization for three years Price has experienced the closeness of the gaming community first hand.

“It’s not homoge- nous,” Price said. “It’s a massive community with small niches.”

It sounds like eS- ports has a lot to offer. There are more similarities than differences between esports and traditional sports.

“It’s much like pick- up games of basketball at a park,” Price said. “You make friends with the people you’re competing against and playing with.”

Students are looking forward to this coming to campus.

“Everyone is born with the own unique capabilities,” Destiny Buckley, sophmore, said. “Esports allows others to showcase that.”

Athletes of this sport can be anyone. “It’s not limited to a certain type of people,” Nena Igbokidi said. “That’s why I like it.”

Staff is working on building a gaming room on the second floor of Garrison for the esports team.

The lab will be open seven days a week, and will have three to four open lab hours. The equipment is available to more than just esports members. Staff and faculty are also welcome to visit.

Price, as well as his student worker, Jack Harrison, will be in the lab to answer questions and assist students once it is complete.

An intramural team is also in the process of starting up for noncompetive players and student gamers, but the team is going to make its debut first.

An introductory meeting was held last Monday where they discussed scholarships and the ins and outs of the lab.

Another reason and incentive for students to get involved is scholarships. Students with a 2.0 and above can apply to get money towards their tuition funds.

A second standard is simply being a good student and having good standing with Henderson.

When they start playing in the spring, “Overwatch” will be the game to premiere the team.

As of now, Henderson is the third university to introduce an esports related club or team. Arkansas Tech in Russellville and the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville precede us with an esports club, but just barely. Tech debuted their team in 2017.

Students interested in joining the team or seeking information can email esports@ hsu.edu.