FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Gaming has been around for decades, but within the past year more and more colleges are taking gaming to the next level having official eSports teams.
Jerry Gomez is the Coordinator of eSports. He said he was excited to get this program up and running.
“The first thing was to try and distinguish if it is going to be a club sport, is it going to be athletics or what should we call it?” said Gomez.
Electronic Sports, or eSports for short, is competitive multiplayer video gaming. Within the past five years, colleges have taken eSports seriously. Players compete against other colleges within their division and that’s why Gomez worked hard to have Fresno State get in on the action.
“So, in the process, we figured out that it should be its own thing and that’s when we figured out it was going to be a varsity eSports program,” said Gomez.
According to Gomez with Fresno State Off Campus Student Life, the eSports varsity team will play league of legends against other schools in the Mountain West Division.
“Obviously we would love to win the Mountain West conference that is a really big goal,” said Gomez. “But, I think the main goal is to get establish and get it going and everything.”
This is the first varsity eSports team at Fresno State. However, Fresno State is late to the game because it’s the second to last college in the Mountain West Division to adopt this type of competitive gaming.
Tommy Lee is the Fresno State Head Coach for eSports. He said his first priority is recruiting top tier gamers.
“Players, they are working really hard to get through tryouts they are really trying their best and putting in a ton of effort,” said Lee.
Like with all other sports, eSports players need a head coach too. But, instead of blowing a whistle and shouting out drills, Tommy Lee the new head coach said he is working on discipline and patience.
“So when I was younger I wished that I had something like this and seeing it come alive it really makes me excited to do it for the students, do for the kids, and do it for the upcoming generations,” said Lee.
Lee was recruited out of high school to play eSports in college. He even got a scholarship to help pay for his tuition. Something he hopes can happen here at Fresno State.
“Teach them that it is a tool that can be used,” said Lee. “Video [games] can be a tool to be used to teach them and to educate them in ways that they otherwise never be able to approach right.”
Fresno State does not currently offer eSports scholarships for students wanting to be on the varsity eSports team. But their coach is working with student involvement to get the funding.
For now these players will be showcasing their skills, hoping to make the team and trying to re-define the way gaming is viewed on colleges.
“Cuz video games has that stigma against it,” said Jonathan Marin who is trying out for the team.
“You can’t really look at it like that. I try to tell people when football first came out everyone just thought it was useless and stupid.”
The Fresno State Varsity eSports team is looking for ten players to compete against the schools in the Mountain West Division. If they come out on top the team can go on and play for a national title competing against other colleges outside of their division.