SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – New PC’s and flashy keyboards light up BridgeValley Community & Technical College’s new computer lab.
BridgeValley is set to become the first community college in the Mountain State to offer an ESports program.
“They’re already playing these games at home so why not?” Coordinator of Student Engagement Sara Price said. “Let’s put them together and they can show pride and represent their school.”
The program will be offered as a club for now, but Price says they’re hoping it will turn into a varsity team providing scholarships for members.
“It doesn’t necessarily matter how big the school is or how many dollars they have to put into the recruiting for that,” she said. “ESports focuses on the student’s skill.”
Four-year colleges like Marshall, West Virginia and Pikeville already have ESports teams, allowing students to transfer to those schools.
“They can come here, they can start out, they can join ESports and then they can transfer and take those skills with them to larger schools,” Price said.
The sport is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country with national tournaments handing out millions of dollars in prizes. 175 colleges currently make up the National Association of Collegiate ESports.
It’s a hobby that can turn into a career.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to use a skill that they already have,” Price said. “They can earn money for college and it can benefit them throughout their life, not just during the time they’re at BridgeValley.”
Associate Vice President for Student Engagement James McDougle says the school may consider ESport courses for-credit, but there is no plan at this time.