For the first time in its history, the University of Jamestown will compete in eSports as a member of the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NAC). The team will begin its season in the fall of 2017 and will be led by Chris Hoke, Director of eSports, and Josh Knutson, Head Coach.
Coach Knutson said, "We are very excited about the great opportunity we have here at UJ to start a competitive collegiate eSports program. The NAC's goal is to legitimize eSports at the collegiate level, and our goal is to do exactly that by building a program that is respected and held to the same standards as any other program here at UJ. It's kind of like wading into uncharted waters, but I think that's part of why it's so exciting."
All Jimmie fans will have access to watch the Jimmie eSports teams compete live through the UJ Twitch.tv profile. Hoke and Knutson are looking to fill a roster size of 25, with scholarship opportunities available up to $2,000 per team member. Recruiting has already begun, targeting schools and students who participate in the high school leagues around the country. Hoke and Knutson are also looking for participants at regional leaderboards and other independent tournaments and sources.
"eSports provides a dynamic and unique opportunity to our athletic offerings for our current and future Jimmies. We are excited to be one of the pioneers in the region to move forward with this program. We believe this provides great opportunities for our local high school students, as well as the ability to expand our reach on a regional, national, and international level. It's a great time to be a Jimmie," said Mike Heitkamp, University of Jamestown Vice President of Enrollment.
The NAC is the only association of college- and university-sponsored eSports programs that promotes the education and development of students through intercollegiate eSports participation. The inaugural NAC eSports invitational event will be in spring 2017 followed by a full regular and postseason competition in 2017-18.