When you think of college athletes, you might picture someone running down a basketball court or a football field.
But a different group of athletes competes in a room full of computers.
This is the first year Esports is sanctioned as an athletic sport at Dakota State University.
Teams will compete at the varsity and junior varsity levels.
DSU Esports is still in the process of adding team members with tryouts planned for next weekend, but there is a lot of excitement surrounding this new chapter.
Kaden Mork is no stranger to competing, no matter what the playing field looks like.
“When I was growing up I actually played sports most of my life,” Game Coordinator and Athlete Kaden Mork said.
But the DSU sophomore has since traded that in for a computer screen, keyboard, and mouse.
“These are games that kids are playing all day long, essentially. We’re just playing them at a higher level and on a legitimate platform, if you will,” Head of Esports at DSU Andrew Roland said.
Competition will begin in late September.
“We could be playing against D1 schools and we’re in our first year so it’s really fun to see how our talent will match up against some of these bigger name universities and how we do,” Roland said.
Andrew Roland is the head of DSU Esports.
He’s says more people are starting to warm up to the idea of calling his competitors student athletes.
“Given the circumstances, we’re offering scholarships for this position. When I let them know we’re training in a similar type aspect, competing on a national level, it all starts to fall in and make a little bit more sense,” Roland said.
Students say the addition of Esports is bridging a gap on campus.
“There’s been people recruited specifically for athletics and people recruited specifically for academics. Most of the people in between are leaning more on that academic end. And it’s almost felt like two campuses for a long time,” Game Coordinator Carl Petersen said.
“It bridges the nerd and jock kind of thing. It helps and gives an outlet to people who normally can’t compete in sports,” Mork said.
While the first competition is planned for late next month, it’s unknown who they’ll be competing against.
Students interested in joining DSU Esports can click this link.