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Many college athletes are able to pay for their education through athletic scholarships. One college in Illinois will give League of Legends players the same opportunity starting this fall.
Robert Morris University Illinois has announced that they're adding League of Legends to their athletic program. This means that they can offer athletic scholarships to gamers on the school's LoL team. The university is the first in the nation to classify LoL as a varsity sport.
"Robert Morris University has always been at the forefront of providing opportunities for a diverse student population with different interests and skills," said associate athletic director Kurt Melcher. "League of Legends is a competitive, challenging game which requires significant amount of teamwork to be successful."
The university is seeking League of Legends players with experience in the High School Starleague (HSL), though I'm sure they'll make an exception for Summoners who demonstrated skill elsewhere. There are over 750 schools across United States and Canada that field players for the HSL.
LoL players can get scholarships of up to 50% tuition and 50% room and board from Robert Morris University. That's not an insignificant amount of money. Robert Morris currently costs $31,600 per year in tuition and an additional $14,400 for housing.
The Robert Morris University League of Legends team will compete in the Collegiate Star League. This organization includes squads from over a hundred schools including Harvard and Arizona State. Collegiate Star League teams battle for supremacy in the North American Collegiate Championship hosted by Riot. The prize pool includes $100,000 in additional scholarship money.
The news is going to spawn a lot of comments about how League of Legends isn't really a sport. Regardless of which side you take in that endless debate, though, I think we can all agree that a university giving out scholarships is a good thing. College is stupidly expensive so any program that leaves students without crippling debt (or with slightly less crippling debt) is a win in my book.
The ultimate goal for a lot of high-level League of Legends players is to hit the pro circuit and make the big bucks. Most of those players won't become rich, though, or even earn enough to make the game their full-time job. I'm happy that this program offers a viable path for players who want to get an education while also preparing for a pro LoL career. If their dreams don't come to fruition, at least they've got a Bachelor's degree to build on.
Robert Morris will waive the $20 application fee for interested League of Legends players. If you need more information before applying, you can contact Melcher himself. His contact information can be found at the bottom of today's press release.
Is League of Legends a sport?