KEUKA PARK, N.Y.—There’s a new athletics team coming to Keuka College, but they won’t be playing on the new turf field or inside the gym. Instead, they’ll use the College’s new $2 million network infrastructure and 10GBps data backbone to compete in the virtual world of “League of Legends,” the most popular online game in North America. Varsity-level competitive online video gaming—or eSports—will arrive at Keuka College in early 2016.
The student-athletes on the College’s eSports team will find support from a full-time coach, attend regular practice sessions, and represent the Green & Gold in matches, and championship tournaments.
“Sports require students to exercise and develop strategic thinking, teamwork, leadership, and communication skills in a competitive environment,” says David Sweet, Keuka College’s director of athletics. “‘League of Legends” and similar games provide this opportunity, and we’re thrilled to offer this to our student-athletes.”
Online sports are a natural fit for Keuka College. Under the leadership of President Jorge L. Díaz- Herrera, the College is integrating digital competencies, digital literacy, and data analysis throughout the entire academic curriculum and college experience. “Athletics, whether they’re played on the field or online, provide opportunities for deeper learning,” says Dr. Díaz-Herrera, who previously served as the founding dean of the B. Thomas Golisano School of Computing and Information Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology. “eSports provide students with a training ground to practice making rapid decisions, managing resources and expenditures, and working as a team. All of these skills, along with the technical concepts online gaming exposes students to, are essential for the professions of the future.”
According to Dr. Paul H. Forestell, provost and vice president for academic affairs, eSports provides students the chance to hone their time management skills and contributes to building a student’s sense of confidence and character.
“We’re excited and supportive of this from an academic perspective,” Dr. Forestell says. “Keuka College has always designed unique opportunities and programs to meet the needs of tomorrow’s orld. This is just the latest iteration.”