Jan 19, 16, 01:34 PM #1
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Four Ryle Seniors Win Gaming ScholarshipsFour Ryle seniors win gaming scholarships
Robert Morris University wants these Florence and Union students to attend college in Chicago and compete in its eSports Arena playing Counter-strike: Global Offensive
UNION – Four seniors at Ryle High School have won full scholarship offers at the first college in the country to provide athletic-based scholarships for e-sports gaming.
Based on their competitive performance in the global online gaming world, Mason Carnes, Kyle Cousin, Henry Kneale and Jake Laumann have received scholarship offers from Robert Morris University in Chicago.
Two of the students, Mason and Henry, started gaming together while students at Ockerman Middle School. The four have played together since freshmen at Ryle with a special emphasis on the game Counter-strike: Global Offensive.
Jake, 18, a Union resident, learned about the e-sports program at Robert Morris and reached out for more information. “This is the part where it got awesome,” Jake said, because RMU was already seeking to step up its efforts in Counter-strike competition.
Kurt Melcher, RMU’s associate athletic director and e-sports coordinator, said after the Ryle students visited the Chicago campus they were offered full scholarships valued at $22,000 apiece. They’ll compete in the 300-school Collegiate Star League on weekends in the school’s eSports Arena which has 35 play areas and plays to a full house every Saturday. Then they’ll take a full load of classes in whatever area of study interests them.
“It’s not just that they’re coming to play video games. Their job is to get better as a player and the coach is going to push them,” Melcher said.
“It’s not just fun and games,” Melcher said. “They are at an ability level where they want to be pushed.”
From their research, the senior scholarship winners say the e-sports business is on the verge of blowing up in a big way. Online streaming and television interest in professional tournaments is stepping up. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is part of a team that has invested $7 million in a Seattle start-up Unikrn (pronounced “Unicorn”), which offers wagering on competitive video game tournaments, according to Fortune.com.
“Most people see games and they think of people sitting on a couch with a controller just kind of lazing around,” said Kyle, 17, of Florence. There is so much more to it, the teens agree.
Melcher, who proposed bringing e-sports into RMU's sports department, said, “They’re absolutely a sport. They provide all the same benefits that sports provide,” he said. Competitors work as a team, take leadership positions and directions from a coach, rise in skill level. Values of integrity and character, he said, “it all plays in these sports.”
The one thing that separates e-sports from traditional collegiate sports, he said, is cardiovascular exertion.
In 2014 RMU became the first university to offer gaming scholarships for a varsity e-sports team which currently competes in League of Legends, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Dota 2 competitions.
And that brings us to the Ryle team’s game of choice, Counter-strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO), which had more than 10 million online players last month, according to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
“The game we play, CS: GO, is very skill based,” Kyle said. “You have to play it a lot and you really have to practice in order to be good or at least at the level that we are.”
Jake, who plans to study business management, has decided to accept the RMU scholarship. Henry, 17, of Florence, says he is 95 percent sure. He’s interested in computer science and business. Mason, 18, of Florence, is also nearing a decision and wants to study computers and business. Kyle is still undecided.
Ryle Principal Matt Turner was eager to hear details of the Robert Morris scholarship offer.
“I’m excited and happy for them because they’re going to get something they love to do and they’re going to get paid for it, basically,” Turner said.
Gamers’ snacks of choice
What fuels the scholarship-winning online game players in those high-stress sessions of Counter-strike: Global Offensive? The Recorder asked the Ryle team for the “brain food” that helped get them their full tuition offers.
Jake: Better Cheddar
Kyle: Pistachios or unsalted peanuts
Mason: Sparkling grape juice
Henry: “I’ll eat like whatever, but if I’m having a good time I’m drinking Sunkist.”Advertisement
Jan 19, 16, 01:39 PM #2
"Boy, put that math book AWAY and get back to your PlayStation!"
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Jan 19, 16, 01:42 PM #3I know my brother is probably way jealous that he was before his time.
Jan 19, 16, 02:17 PM #4
This is pretty tight! I like it!
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- If I was you I wouldn't like me either. #Views #justdoit
Jan 19, 16, 02:17 PM #5I had an acquaintance who used to play one of the popular esports games before there was any sort of popularity like there is today. I don't know if he wasn't good enough or didn't feel like spending the time these guys put in practicing, but he stayed in contact with the guys he knew from playing online and turned this relationship into managing one of these teams.
He parlayed this into a job with some video game streaming company while continuing to manage this team. I have since seen his twitter followers increase by the 10's of thousands, his facebook pictures include trips across the world, his name appear in financial magazines when discussing this new phenomenon, and he has a bunch of kids hanging on every word with every internet Q and A he posts.
I'm not sure of his cut, but over the summer his team won a tournament worth more than $6 million. All of this over a game I had never heard of, and still don't really understand.
A few years ago, I would have smirked at a college offering anything for gaming outside of actual development, but considering their place in the NCAA pecking order, I bet Robert Morris gets more eyes on their school for their gaming scholarships than from all of their athletes put together.
Jan 19, 16, 02:33 PM #6Just grounded my son so he can stay in his room and practice. He plays CS:GO all the time.
Jan 19, 16, 02:40 PM #7In Asia they fill 20,000 seat arenas with people watching gaming competitions. You are going to see this type of thing in the US in the very near future.
Jan 19, 16, 03:11 PM #8
Jan 21, 16, 03:57 PM #9
You have to have a 28 on the ACT for this scholarship.
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Jan 21, 16, 04:00 PM #10
Jake says he plays about 40 hours per week.
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Jan 21, 16, 04:26 PM #11
Jan 22, 16, 11:00 AM #12I know all four of these boys and they are very bright. I am happy for them if they can get their school paid for and wish them well with a future career (apart from gaming).
Having said that, gaming is a major waste of time. How many hours are spent on gaming when the time could be used for much more productive things, like reading, chores, and/or a job? The opportunity these four kids received is an anomaly. How many hours are wasted, not only on playing games, but also on developing better games when those same engineering smarts could be turned to something productive or to solve some of the major problems we have today, like clean energy, etc.?
I think this whole scholarship thing reflects poorly on the values of our society today.
I know, I'm Mr. Wet Blanket here, sorry everyone. I attribute my view to being raised by a parent who grew up during the Great Depression on a farm in rural Ohio. My Dad used to say, "Let me see your hands." I'd show them to him palms up and he'd say, "I have a shovel (rake, hoe, hammer) that will fit those. We've got work to do."
BTW, gaming ain't a sport.
I have to go now. I'm looking for a parade to rain on...
Jan 22, 16, 11:54 AM #13
Jan 22, 16, 12:17 PM #14
It really was just a matter of time. Who knows in 50-100 years video gaming may be more profitable for gamers than a pro sports player is today. They may be using city/county tax income to build gaming arenas.
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It really is not out of the realm of possibility.
2104 - The Virtual Reality Gamers Bowl - Buenos Aries Video Arena
Tokyo Pac Men vs. the Cincinnati Centipedes
Jan 22, 16, 12:47 PM #15