Between soccer games and lacrosse face-offs, you may have noticed a new kind of sport sharing the attention with more traditional options: Esports. So, too, are these electronic games becoming more popular on college campuses, where tech - and gaming - minded players tryout, train, and compete in national competition.
The newest college to offer varsity esports, and only one of five such schools in New Jersey, is Sussex County Community College. An official member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE). SCCC will start competing in their Fall 2019 Semester.
SCCC student-athletes will compete primarily within three games: Overwatch, League of Legends, and Rocket League.
"We are excited to announce this new endeavor into esports," said Athletic Director John Kuntz. "Our esports athletes will be held to the same standards as all of our student-athletes, and we look forward to cheering on our new team as they head into competition."
"Video gaming is a fast-growing concept for many colleges," added Dean of Enrollment Management Cory Homer. "We expect it to increase in popularity in New Jersey and we are thrilled to be involved at the forefront of the esports competitions."
Though esports have been around for decades, the often team-driven, strategy-based games have grown in popularity within the past several years. In 2014, Robert Morris University formed the first varsity esports team in the country, two years before NACE was formed to officially govern competition. As of the end of 2018, NACE had 109 institutions as members, representing 91 percent of all varsity programs in North America.
In addition to the coed esports team, Sussex Skylanders Athletics includes baseball, softball, men's and women's soccer and basketball, and men's lacrosse.