Among the children of my friends, I am famous for being totally uninterested in computer gaming.Today, while driving home from work, I heard a news story on NPR that almost made me rear-end an Acura. Robert Morris University in Chicago is offering a full athletic scholarship in the video game League of Legends. If your child has wasted hundreds of hours exercising his thumbs (but not his brains) on a fantasy computer game, he is entitled to a scholarship that will pay 50% of tuition and 50% of room and board. (Excuse the pronouns: Women also are eligible for the award.)
What the university is doing is making a computer game equivalent to a sport. Not that I have any particular love of college athletics (I was in the band), but I am wondering why an accredited university should be encouraging an activity that will most likely be considered out of date in about three weeks. At least football, track, and maybe even baseball will continue to exist, I do not expect the same of any computer gaming product now on the market. (Well, maybe chess….)
I see this as opening scholarship chances for skateboarding (that’s been around for half a century), in-line skating, Razor-Scootering, pogo sticks, and other forms of “physical” activity indulged in by youthful slackers. We could make awards based on smart phone handling while crossing a busy intersection or texting and vaping while driving in reverse. The possibilities are limitless.
Now that Robert Morris University got its name in the news media by this stunt, I wonder what could be next.