Frequently Asked Questions

The esports program at Ohio State is comprised of a number of initiatives across academics, research and student engagement. This list of frequently asked questions and answers will continue to grow as new initiatives launch.

What are esports?

Esports are organized, team-based, video game competitions in a global industry valued in the billions of dollars. Through the first quarter of 2018, YouTube Gaming and Twitch channeled a combined 2.5 billion viewing hours. Spectators from around the globe increasingly watch a variety of games, competitions and live tournaments. Esports includes competitive video games such as League of Legends (LoL), Rocket League, Overwatch and many others that have a significant skill gap between and casual and professional player. 

Why collegiate esports? 

Ohio State’s competitive esports endeavor will tie closely with research and academics, providing valuable research insights and co-curricular experiences. Additionally, the demographics of fans and players are a close match with today’s college students. It is a natural fit for colleges and universities to compete with each other and Ohio State students have been asking for university support. We want to provide this opportunity to practice their teamwork, develop career experiences and build leaders through our esports programs.

Is this an official varsity sport?

Ohio State operates a select number of “premier” esports teams to compete against other universities. These teams are not affiliated with the Athletic Department. There are open applications, selection criteria and try-out processes for enrolled students to earn a spot on each team.

Additionally, Ohio State students have managed and will continue to manage their own, student organization-level teams. It is possible that on-campus intramurals will also begin in the near future.

What scholarship teams will be supported?

Scholarships are not yet available. Ohio State will focus on games that are team-based and can easily support school-against-school competition. Games for competition will be selected based on popularity, the ability to participate in league/tournament play and suitable content.  The final selection criteria will be determined in conjunction with other universities and/or leagues.

What is the esports facility like?  

The Office of Student Life launched the esports arena in the fall of 2019. Located on the second floor of Lincoln Tower, this space allows all enrolled students to try out new gaming experiences, connect with each other through intramural competition and serves as the home base of our competitive teams. We’ve designed specific areas for team practice and competition, as well as a shout-casting and production studio for pre and post-game commentators.

Will this facility also be open to the student body? 

We want every enrolled Ohio State student to have access to the esports arena. We especially encourage those who may have had little to no exposure to some of the gaming systems we will have. Some games and virtual reality experiences have a higher cost of entry than some students might normally prioritize. This is a chance for us to offer exploration and career opportunities to as many students as possible.

Will there be student-player standards?

Any competitor will be required to maintain minimum grade point averages and remain in good standing with the university. Additionally, players will be limited to a set number of hours for practice and esports-related responsibilities.

What considerations are there for player wellness?

Ohio State places a strong emphasis on the physical and mental wellness of all players, student managers and anyone involved in the program. Through partnership with various Student Life and university departments, the esports program is developing guidelines to promote wellness and integrate key university resources toward that goal.

Who manages the student engagement program?

At Ohio State, there are a number of initiatives connected to esports, game studies and research. Management of the Ohio State esports arena, support for student organizations connected to gaming and leadership for the Ohio State esports teams is based in the Office of Student Life.

Curriculum related questions

What will the curriculum look like?

The curriculum is currently being designed by a team of faculty from across five colleges. A goal-oriented design process is being utilized, whereby we begin by looking at what skills we want a student to possess when they graduate from this program. We have designed eight curricular goals, each with multiple student learning outcomes. We envision a very comprehensive program with several tracks allowing students to major in multiple aspects of the gaming industry including design, business, competitor training, rehabilitation and event production.

Who has access to this curriculum?

This curriculum is being designed as an undergraduate major. In the future, more programs may also be developed including distance education certificate programs for working individuals.

What colleges are involved?

Five colleges across the university are involved in this undergraduate major. These are Arts & Sciences, Business, Education and Human Ecology, Engineering and Medicine. In addition, the Offices of Student Life and Distance Education and eLearning have been involved and supportive of our efforts on multiple fronts.