This year, AU introduced the new esports program. While COVID-19 had previously stalled the opening of this program, the esports team has finally participated in their first few events.
Esports, or competitive gaming, is a sport made up of several teams that compete against other schools in their respective video games.
One interesting aspect of the new program is the inclusion of the esports “scholarship.” Interim Head Coach, Justin Lambright, commented on the new award.
“It isn’t actually a scholarship,” said Lambright, “but rather an activity award. The name is the ‘Esports Activity Award’ and it is nothing related to an athletic scholarship.”
Lambright also clarified the difference between a scholarship and an activity award.
“As an NCAA Division III school, we are not permitted to award athletic scholarships,” said Lambright. ”This is something different. It isn’t that it is justified over athletic scholarships—it is that the NCAA does not permit those, while this is something completely outside the realm of the NCAA’s control. It is more akin to the new award for students majoring in STEM fields, an incentive to attend Anderson University as opposed to a competitor.”
With the esports program being so new, Lambright helped explain why the award is important.
“The purpose or goal of the award is to drive recruitment of students,” said Lambright. “Our hope is that by providing a little extra incentive to students interested in competing in esports at a collegiate level, we might pull some more students to AU. Our goal is to bring in as many new students as we can.”
However, there is a catch to this award: other NCAA athletes are not eligible to receive it.
“As for eligibility, if someone is on an AU NCAA DIII team, then they are not eligible for the award per NCAA rules,” said Lambright.
For anyone interested in the Esports program or the scholarship they can contact Lambright directly or email firstname.lastname@example.org.