Georgia College will be making history this October as the Peach Belt becomes the first NCAA Division II conference to hold an esports championship.
Five players and one to two alternates will represent the school in the team’s 11-week season, competing head-to-head against other PBC universities in League of Legends from developer Riot Games.
The PBC chose League of Legends as the featured game of its inaugural season because it is the most played online game in the world. It draws in over 100 million players each month. League of Legends also holds an impressive track record in esports, hosting over 1,700 competitive tournaments each year.
“In examining the growing culture of esports, we felt that there was an opportunity to be a leader in NCAA Division II, to do something no one else is doing and reach students who otherwise would have no idea about our league or the membership,” said Ken Girlinger, PBC Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Communications.
“While esports is just beginning to extend its reach on the Georgia College campus, many students have already fully embraced the integration of esports into the athletic and greater GC collective.
“I already watch the North American professional League of Legends scene, so it’s really exciting to see it come to our school,” said senior Aaron Benson. “I think the addition of esports into the GC community will open up more people to the idea that video games can w a competitive sport.”
In each match, the winner will be determined by a best of three series. Fans will be able to attend matches on campus to experience the excitement of a live game or stream them online through Twitch.
“The people who compete in esports are highly competitive and train just as hard as anybody else does for traditional sports,” said Bert Rosenberger, Director of Rec Sports at Georgia College.
“There are many roles that students can play in this, whether they’re players, club members, announcers, producers—there’s a lot of interesting opportunities other than just the students who are competing in the game.”
At the end of the season, the top eight teams will advance to the PBC Esports Championship. The team who rises above the rest will be crowned esports champion, an honor equivalent to the trophy and awards that all other PBC championship teams receive.
“Esports is the next X-Games. This is going to be a trend-setter unlike anything we’ve ever had,” said Wendell Staton, Athletic Director of Georgia College.
“It’s rising in popularity among universities, and as a conference, we’re out in front on this. Esports is another precedent that the Peach Belt Conference, and by extension Georgia College, is setting for the rest of the nation.”
Infographic courtesy of Sean Montgomery