Pac-12, in a recent release of developments from the end of the year board meeting for the collegiate sports conference, announced that in the coming year they would sanction and broadcast eSports events. This would make Pac-12 the first collegiate conference to officially sanction eSports. They announced that each school in the conference will compete in games culminating in a tournament. The match ups will be head to head in studios provided by the conference and end in a Pac-12 championship event, equivalent to the championship events that would be given to any other sport.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in the release, “eSports is a natural fit for many of our universities located in the technology and media hubs of the country.” Scott also went on to mention how intertwined eSports already is with many of the departments within Pac-12 schools, namely: “computer science, visual and cinematic arts, and engineering.” The release also stated that it is the conference’s commitment to “innovation” that influenced the decision and that they hope to develop a blueprint for eSports to be integrated into collegiate competition.
The schools within the Pac-12 conference include: University of Arizona, Arizona State University, UC Berkely, UCLA, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, USC, Stanford, University of Utah, University of Washington, and Washington State University.
This collegiate conference has traditionally been known for dominance in football but its eSports teams have also been known to be incredibly competitive. Earlier this year Arizona State University’s team, Real Dream Team, went undefeated in Heroes of the Dorm, which is a Blizzard sanctioned eSports March Madness-like event in the game Heroes of the Storm.
What game will be chosen to be the first one sanctioned for competition has not yet been decided. Within the coming months the game to be sanctioned by Pac-12 will be announced and begin this new chapter in the future of eSports.