There’s a new team on campus. The University of Central Missouri is the second school in Missouri, following the University of Missouri, to have an esports program available for its students. A total of 27 scholarships currently come along with it.
Assistant professor of mathematics, Steven Shattuck, worked with the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) to form an esports team for the Mules and Jennies who love to game.
The Oxford English dictionary defines esports as “a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators.” The players are skilled in the games of their choosing and compete with their teammates to beat the other team(s) in the game.
Esports is actively growing with more teams forming across the country, and around the world, every day.
It was previously thought that there was no fit for an esports team on our campus but the interest from our students told a different story. Shattuck stated that, for years, even before the rumors of an esports team coming to UCM, he’s had students coming to his office inquiring about a team.
All UCM students are eligible to tryout for one of the 27 scholarship positions on the team. Tryouts begin March 1st for the Fall 2020 season. All current team members must reapply and compete against new members for the Fall 2020 positions.
The team currently has members playing “Overwatch,” “League of Legends,” and “Rocket League.” Shattuck hopes this new team encourages more STEM majors to come to our campus.
“Esports is another way we can get students involved on campus, not only the players but the students who like to spectate as well,” Shattuck stated.
“Making students want to get involved and be part of something on campus is our main goal,” he said.
Shattuck also laid out his plans for the team, including televised competitions in collaboration with the UCM Digital Media Production program, and eventually a Twitch stream to spread the program’s reach further.
Lucas Ballard is the “Overwatch” team captain, in his second semester on the team. Ballard displayed his optimism about the upcoming season and expressed his excitement for the team to continue to learn and grow from last season. “It was rough, but it was a first season thing,” he stated.
Other team members agreed that the first season didn’t go as smoothly as it could have but when speaking to Shawn Gallagher, UCM Esports “Overwatch” team member, it was clear that the team meshed well quickly and had fun despite losing some games.
There is a competitive spirit but there’s never any bad blood. Gallagher said he is hoping to “get the kinks out” this Spring semester in order to work on specifics to improve the team’s gameplay.
If you are interested in joining the new esports team, visit www.ucmo.edu/esports.