While the eSports community is fairly united in its opposition of NCAA involvement, there is likely no avoiding it. As the primary regulatory body for collegiate sports, the competitive gaming community will have to accept the NCAA with open arms. The NCAA realizes that eSports are a whole different ball game, and this week they are taking their first steps to understanding the industry.
There are several issues that the board will need to address such as standards of amateurism, level of support for teams from universities themselves, and league regulation.
Over the past several years, the competitive gaming industry has grown exponentially. It has attracted investors, players, and business professionals into its ranks. Varsity gaming has seen support from big companies like Riot and Blizzard through their implementation of collegiate programs.
The National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE) is also continuing to grow in size and scope. Already, the organization helps schools support eSports athletes through scholarship. There are currently 50 institutions that have given scholarships to students for participation in eSports. Many universities, however, do not allow eSports teams to use university logos during competitions. This is one issue that may be remedied by NCAA involvement.
Overall, the collegiate eSports scene has seen great growth over the past few years, but NCAA involvement will hopefully be the next solid step in the program’s development. While the formation of the NACE was an important step for the industry, the NCAA has more experience in this sector. Over the next few years we will likely be seeing the majority of club gaming teams turning into varsity programs.