The New York Times: E-Sports at College, With Stars and Scholarships

Posted Dec. 8, 2013 by The New York Times.

Loc Tran is a big man on campus at San Jose State University in Northern California.

“A lot of people stop me when I’m walking,” said Mr. Tran, a 19-year-old sophomore, who speaks in quick and confident bursts. “They congratulate me.”

But Mr. Tran is not a star on the football team, or a leader in student government. He is a top player on the school’s competitive video game team, helping San Jose State claw its way to victory in June over California State University, Fullerton, in a tournament watched online by nearly 90,000 people. When the new school year started this fall, classmates’ heads swiveled toward him when professors said his name during roll call.

“I thought that was pretty cool,” Mr. Tran said.

Video game competitions, also known as e-sports, have taken off on campuses across the country, including Harvard and Florida State University. More than 10,000 students now play in the biggest college league, 4,400 more than last year and 4,600 more than the number of men who play on Division I college basketball teams.

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