Beginning in the fall, there will officially be varsity “eSports” available to women in college.
Stephens College, an all-women’s school in Columbia, MO—located just a few miles from the University of Missouri—announced on Thursday that it will sponsor a varsity eSports program. eSports are multiplayer video games played competitively for spectators.
The school will field an Overwatch team beginning in the fall that will compete in the Tespa series. Overwatch is a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter video game.
Players will receive partial scholarships to the school, as well as the benefits and resources for the school’s eight other athletics programs, including basketball, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball and competitive dance.
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While there are multiple professional all-women’s eSports teams, Stephens will become the first collegiate program to field a varsity team for women. There are also 31 schools currently in the National Association of Collegiate eSports, known as the NACE, which is essentially the NCAA of eSports.
However, while those other teams are co-ed, they are made up of mostly, if not entirely, of men, according to Michael Brooks, the administrator of NACE.