College of St. Joseph will add eSports to its list of intercollegiate athletic offerings beginning this fall.
Since its establishment in the early 2000s, professional and club eSports has been an emerging form of competitive gaming and is a fast-growing phenomenon among colleges around the world. Participating schools compete in a wide-variety of video game titles in tournament-style competition. Games include “League of Legends,” “Starcraft 2,” “Heartstone” and many others.
CSJ will be the only college in New England to offer eSports as a varsity sport.
“The College has really encouraged the development of an athletic culture over the past few years,” said Jeff Brown, senior vice president of college affairs and athletic director. “The addition of an eSports program promotes a holistic approach to collegiate athletics, while attracting student-athletes who possess skills including critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork, which are transferable to success in the classroom.”
The college will be part of the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE), a nonprofit membership association dedicated to advancing collegiate eSports in the varsity space. NACE currently has 26 members, including Robert Morris University, Miami University and Kansas Wesleyan University.
eSports is not formally recognized by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), but the conference will be supporting the program, providing eligibility and sponsorship requirements and regulations.
The college has named Tyrelle Appleton as head coach for the program. Appleton is a 2016 graduate and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Business Administration at CSJ. A former competitive gamer, Appleton has been involved in the eSports scene for more than four years and has experience in not only gaming, but also tournament organization and sponsorship procurement.
“My hope for the eSports program is to build it from the ground up and help establish College of St. Joseph as the epicenter of eSports in New England,” he said. “It is the perfect opportunity for anyone to get a college education and turn a hobby into a career.”