sportsMay 24, 2024
Isaiah Collins ~ Sports Editor
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The growth of electronic sports seems to have influenced SEMO, as the university announced that they will carry an eSports minor beginning in the Fall 2024 semester.

SEMO sports management professor said the growth of the sport as well as the on-campus eSports club led to the decision.

“There’s growth here on campus, there's growth out in public, there's growth in our, in our high schools of the popularity and being accepted as part of an educational system,” Evans said.

The new minor has been in the works for around a year, and will require students to take 15 credit hours, consisting of three required classes: Introduction to eSports Management, eSports Marketing and eSports League Management.

“This is a minor, and we wanted to make it as easy as we could for people to take these three eSports classes. And then have these other options that fills in to meet their schedules, meet their needs and made to meet their interest that also supports those three classes,” Evans said.

Additionally students will have to choose two more courses that fall within the minor. The courses include subjects such as health & fitness, digital production, programming and sports management. SEMO professor Beverly Evans said that although most people do not associate health & fitness with video games, eSports players are still athletes.

“There is conditioning, there's things about nutrition for eSports athletes, just like any other athlete that you would have on a college campus,” Evans said.

SEMO eSports vice president David Oliver said that adding a minor in eSports will be a big step in helping add to the on-campus organization, which is already the biggest on-campus group at SEMO.

“We've had students come in and say that the [eSports] program was a huge reason for them coming to SEMO to begin with, and up until this point, we haven't been a scholarship program,” Oliver said. “Just having access to a minor in an eSports is something that I know will bring more people in because we've already had interest in the program itself.”

Evans added that SEMO would consider adding more eSports specific courses and possibly having it become a major, but that would depend on interest and other factors.

“Let's see what the interest is, we have a solid base here with our three classes that we can build from there, possibly it would come to more,” Evans said. “We're also starting what we can handle with the faculty and staff we currently have.”

SEMO eSports president Logan Dunlap said seeing the Sports growth on campus over the last five years has been huge.

“I was here in 2019 when the club was founded, and that was kind of our end goal is to see several different things but more arena space, which we're working on, we're getting new equipment and to see scholarships,” Dunlap said. “It's been talked about some to see a degree path for eSports. Now we've got the minor setup. So I mean, five years to just be already accomplishing a lot of the main goals that we set out, I think is huge.”