The esports program at Simpson now offers scholarships to first-year students to compete at the college level.
The program competes in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), the largest esports conference in the country. NACE currently has 600 schools and 14,500 students competing. The sport continues to grow every year and gives more students the opportunity to do what they love.
Hubert Wan Tong, Director of Esports at Simpson, spoke about the new scholarship and the opportunities available to first-year students.
“It’s similar to traditional athletics. Since we are not an NCA, we can offer scholarships regardless of the sophomore level on campus,” Wan Tong said. “Any first-year entrant who qualifies for a scholarship, we do some basic background on it, work with the student, and then award scholarships as needed based on merit.”
Scholarships are similar to athletics: students must meet GPA requirements and responsibilities to the team. The team practices eight to ten hours a week, but the players have a 24-hour playing field to get in extra practice.
Freshman Dean Lantz is one of the players currently on scholarship. Simpson talks about why he chose it and what the new scholarship has done for him.
“I thought it was a good place for me to be close to home and also to be able to do what I’ve loved for years and earn money doing it. It was a great feeling to be told that I was being paid to play a video game.
Lantz competes for the Storm in the Rocket League, but said he’s started playing League of Legends since arriving on campus. He said this will be his first time competing in an official Rocket League tournament.
“I play the program they have in the game, but I’ve never played against other people in a tournament. It gives me an opportunity to come here because we have our first game on Monday,” Lantz said.
Zaid Erdmann is another first-year student on scholarship. He said he came first.
Simpson visited soccer and soon found an esports program. He talked about what eSports means to him.
“Especially for the game I play: Rocket League definitely takes some practice. I’ve been playing for three years, and I’m still improving every day, trying to get better,” Erdman said. “I’m not participating this semester because of football, but I’ll be more active next semester.”
The Hurricanes won their first Rocket League match of the year on Monday, September 19th and will stream all games on SimpsonEsports on Twitch throughout the season.
Valorant and Rocket League are the two games of the season for the Hurricanes.