Coming soon, teenagers will be able to count eSports among their high school extracurriculars.
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) announced last week that they have officially decided roll out eSports competitions in schools nationwide. Teams will begin play this fall in an initial rollout consisting of schools in 15 different states.
To achieve this they are partnering with a company called PlayVS, the organization that will serve as the official high school league. “We looked at many potential esports partners, and PlayVS was the clear choice thanks, in part, to its overall education-based concept, mission and vision,” said Mark Koski, CEO of the NFHS network.
While no announcements have been made yet on what games they might be hosting tournaments for, they have said that each state association will choose which games they approve for students. Tournaments will run in two seasons, October-January and February-May. Games will be played locally at each school, with no traveling. Games will be played in front of a live audience just like any other high school sport.
With more and more colleges recruiting for eSports and the growing mainstream appreciation of them as a legitimate sport, Koski feels like this is exactly the right time to bring them to high schools. In the announcement he notes that 72 percent of high schoolers now identify as gamers, and bringing in eSports allows schools to increase student participation, including “students who haven’t been involved in a sport or activity in the past.”
This will be a huge change for the world of high school sports which has traditionally been dominated by very main stream sports like basketball and football. While that is unlikely to change, it will be nice to see more diversity available to students who might be interested.
To learn more about the upcoming program, you can check out the eSports page on the NFHS website. But if you are old and unlucky like myself, you can simply mourn the fact that this didn’t exist when you were 16.