South Korean University Recognizes Gamers as Student Athletes
In what sounds a bit like the premise of Video Game High School, a university in South Korea will begin accepting students based on their gaming skills.
Beginning next year, eSports players can apply to Chung-Ang University’s Department of Sports Science. Currently, the department hosts student athletes who play more traditional sports like soccer, baseball, and basketball, and under the new policy League of Legends players will officially be able to call themselves jocks.
Chung-Ang is consistently ranked one of South Korea's top schools, which makes the university’s recruitment of eSports players a pretty big deal. Admission won’t require a minimum entrance exam score, but hopeful applicants’ past academic performance and gaming skills will be considered.
Could American universities be next?
Student-run eSports organizations already exist on most college campuses in the U.S. and thanks to recent initiatives from two major eSports publishers - Riot Games and Blizzard Entertainment - their prominence will likely continue to grow.
Granted, South Korea’s eSports scene is far more mainstream than it is here in the U.S., but I wouldn’t be surprised if a more tech-savvy university began recruiting eSports players in the same way they do for more traditional sports.
eSports players are already recognized as professional athletes by the United States government - all that’s left is for the rest of the country to follow suit.