Utah Becomes First Power Five School To Offer Esports Scholarships

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There are many different ways to receive college scholarships. And now, at the University of Utah, those ways include being really, really good at video games.

Located in Salt Lake City, the school will become the first in the NCAA’s “Power Five” conferences to offer scholarships for competitive gaming, according to Bloomberg. Utah’s first varsity esports team only will play Riot Games’ League of Legends, although more teams in other games reportedly will be announced later this year.

The news is particularly good for the competitive-gaming community, as Utah, a member of the Pac-12, could pave the way for other major universities to incorporate esports.

“We want others schools to join us,” A.J. Dimick, the head of Utah’s new esports program, said via Bloomberg. “Let’s move this along together.”

The school’s esports program apparently will function without financial help or marketing support from Utah’s athletic programs, according to Dimick. He added that current members of the team only will receive partial scholarships, but the hope is to eventually offer full scholarships to as many as 35 gamers.

Playing isn’t the only thing Utes do well when it comes to video games, though. The school’s undergraduate video game design program is ranked No. 1 in the world, and has been listed among at least the top three since 2011.

Thumbnail photo via Flickr/Sam Churchill

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