(ANTIMEDIA) Utah — Who said playing video games was a waste of time? In the coming years, the best gamers could be getting scholarships to major universities.
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Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the University of Utah will become the first big money sports college in the country to offer scholarships in competitive video gaming.
The school is part of the “Power Five,” the five biggest money-making athletic conferences in all of college sports. These consist of the Big 10, Pac-12, ACC, the Big East, and the SEC.
The university joins a handful of smaller collegiate institutions that have begun similar programs.
Funding for the scholarships will come from the school’s Entertainment Arts and Engineering department, which The Princeton Review named the best video game design program in the country last year.
The scholarships will be partial for now, but the school is already preparing to offer dozens of full rides as money from marketing and sponsorships begins to pour in.
A.J. Dimick, who will head the new e-sports program for the University of Utah, says his school’s move lends credibility to a quickly growing industry.
“We want other schools to join us,” he told Bloomberg. “Let’s move this thing along.”
The University of Utah’s first test will come when it competes in the collegiate league of Riot Games’ popular League of Legends tournament. Other contests will be announced as they’re scheduled.