Laugh all you want. Make fun of Arizona State and Arizona facing off on the gaming field. It’s coming.
The Pac-12 has decided to form a competitive gaming competition that will air on the Pac-12 Network this fall. E-sports competitions will be held in studio and on campuses around the Conference. There will be a Pac-12 e-Sports tournament and championship.
If you take a step back from the traditional sports, this is a pretty savvy move by Larry Scott. Gamers are the next generation. The millennial generation that so many like to bash, should instead be embraced. This is part of what THEY do. Gamers have talent in computer science, visual and cinematic arts, and engineering. They may not be the biggest, strongest or fastest (but maybe down the road they MIGHT be). A scholarship for e-Gaming to a college isn’t that far-fetched and none of you would turn it down for yourself or your kids.
I am not sure how I am going to react on National Letter of Intent day when a high school senior is sitting at a table in a crowded gym and has hats from Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and Washington in front of them to decide where they are going to take their talents. Will we have recruiting websites start listing visits for e-Gamers? How about fifth-year transfers showing up to rescue the downtrodden gaming program at a Pac-12 school? Boosters making cash payments to the top gamers? Will shoe companies put on AAU style events to showcase the best gamers? 7 on 7? The Elite 11, The Gauntlet, The Peach Basket, we could go on and on for these gamers. Will we have a Mel Kuiper of e-Gamers who can break down the strengths and weaknesses of a Gamers game?
I am not going to bash this. My four kids love gaming. College Presidents are the ones that have decided that e-Gaming should be part of the Pac-12 Network. Those of us who are in the “get off my lawn” stage in life will rip and ridicule this. I’m taking the opposite approach.