It could be because I'm getting old, but academic institutions rewarding students for playing video games still feels like a concept torn straight from Back to the Future. But it's happening: the University of Pikeville in Kentucky will offer 20 scholarships for high level League of Legends players when the semester commences in Autumn.
Pikeville isn't the first college to do so, with Chicago's Robert Morris University introducing a similar scholarship last year. While plenty of colleges and universities compete every year as part of the Collegiate StarLeague, few actually offer scholarships based on League of Legends performance.
"It will be a regime a lot like athletics," the college's New Media Director Bruce Parsons told WYMT TV. "They'll have to have a certain GPA (grade point average). We'll look at them like student athletes. There will be practice time and video time when they have to study other teams for upcoming competitions."
The move is part of the mainstream's ongoing embrace of eSports and, in particular, MOBAs. ESPN broadcasted last year's Dota 2 International tournament, which was popular enough for one source to claim that the network intends to "double down" on its eSports coverage.