By Wendy Widom
CHICAGO (CBS) — Robert Morris University (RMU) announced this week it plans to offer athletic scholarships to qualifying League of Legends players as part of its first eSports team.
RMU Associate Athletic Director Kurt Melcher also announced the university is actively seeking a coach for the team.
The Eagles plan to join the Collegiate Star League (CSL), an intercollegiate league for North American colleges and universities.
CSL began with 25 schools and quickly expanded to include over 100, including Arizona State, Carnegie Mellon and Harvard.
Competitive League of Legends is big business, bringing in $624 million through its 70 million monthly players.
With users clocking in 2.4 billion hours last year alone, advertisers, sponsors and now collegiate athletic departments see an opportunity to connect with a large audience.
Says Melcher, “We have a national championship bowling team in addition to traditional sports teams, and, in my mind, there is no difference between a traditional athlete and an e-sports athlete.”
RMU has already received over 400 inquiries for its new League of Legends varsity team.
While practice will begin in September, the CLS season typically begins in December.