Beginning next fall, Randolph will become the eighth college or university in Virginia to offer an e-sports program as part of the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE). Randolph e-sports team members will compete in online gaming against schools across the nation.
E-sports is a rapidly growing program for women and men, both at the collegiate and high school levels. In fact, the Virginia High School League is testing a one-year, pilot e-sports program in high schools across the state. There are more than 2.3 billion gamers across the globe, and online gaming is larger than the movie and music industries combined. E-sports is the second-most popular watched sport after soccer.
“The launch of this e-sports program is just one of many exciting endeavors resulting from our strategic planning process,” said Bradley W. Bateman, president. “Randolph’s new strategic plan, which was approved by the Board of Trustees last week, is a dynamic framework designed to effectively position the College to be successful in the rapidly changing future.”
Bateman said e-sports is a program in which Randolph’s current students have expressed increasing interest, and one that the College believes will be attractive to prospective students. Like any extracurricular team activity, students involved in e-sports learn team building, problem solving, adaptability, and critical thinking skills. These are skills that are not only necessary in college, but are highly sought by employers and vital to be successful in life.
“While academics will always be our priority here at Randolph, we believe a well-rounded college experience requires exposure to a variety of different endeavors and activities,” Bateman added. “As such, we work hard to provide programs that appeal to a broad range of student interests. We are pleased to add e-sports to this list.”
Randolph will use the coming months to begin preparation, including hiring a coach. More details will be shared as they are available.