Imagine running down a field about to score the winning goal. Athletes have pushed their bodies to the limit for months training for this moment. They are finally about to to see their efforts pay off. But then, the monitor turns off and it's all over.
This is the reality of a new “sport” that has been created. No, it doesn't take place on a field or on a court; this sport takes place online. According to Dictonary.com, an E-sport is defined as “a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers.”
Recently multiple colleges have acquired an E-sports program. According to Next College Student Athlete “151 colleges and universities are members of the National Association of Collegiate E-sports and offer officially recognized varsity E-sports programs. These schools have coaches and offer partial or full-ride athletic scholarships.”
At the Ohio State University, an E-sport program came to life earlier this year, along with a new arena for the program which is held in Lincoln Tower at OSU’s main campus. “Teams from the Wexner Medical Center, the Office of Student Life and several colleges under the Office of Academic Affairs are performing research, creating learning opportunities and building programs to provide unmatched opportunities to our students,” according to its website.
The program is not affiliated with the athletic department, but my question is why is it clearly called a sport clearly in the activity’s name then? What is the true definition of a sport? Does sitting behind a computer really equate to a sport with the physical intensity of football or basketball?
According to Dictonary.com, a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.”
Playing video games as a team does not meet the expectations of the definition of a sport. Athletes have a very strict schedule with team practices, games and appearances, while E-sports players can practice by themselves whenever is most convenient to them.
Incorporating E-sports into colleges is a great idea, but I do believe it should be classified as an activity or club and not as an actual sport. Sports affect the body physically as well as mentally. Whereas in video games, the only skill needed is mental ability, in order to figure out the complex puzzles that are within each game.
Another controversy that arises is the income participants make. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, most commonly known as the NCAA, does not allow athletes to be paid for participating in a sport, However. they are allowed to receive scholarships but many feel that this is not enough and that they should be further compensated for all of the time and energy they put in. This rule continues to become more and more unpopular among athletes and fans.
In 2014, a movement was started at Northwestern University by the football team in an effort to unionize and change the NCAA rule. Unfortunately, they were unable to see a change in the rule.
Recently, a bill has been created in California, which would allow college athletes to profit off of imagining. Even though it is not the goal, it is a step towards it, and I believe many will be happy that progress is being made.
Despite college athletes not being allowed to be paid, Esports participants however, can make large amounts of money. According to JD Sports “The most prestigious tournament in E-sports is the International Dota 2 Championships. The International 2018 Dota 2 Championship offered a total prize pool of $25,532,200, with Team OG winning the event. Each player on the winning team earned around $2,247,000 of the $11,234,000 (5 players per team).”
In my opinion if gamers are getting paid, then athletes definitely should be as well.