Go team! Video-game players get athletic scholarships at one college

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1 Go team! Video-game players get athletic scholarships at one college By Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, adapted by Newsela staff on Word Count 649 Robert Morris University Illinois students Sondra Burrows, 21, (left) and Alex Chapman, 20, play "League of Legends" during a practice of the school's esports program. The school spent $100,000 turning a computer lab into an esports Arena with fast processing computers, large monitors, high-end ergonomic gaming chairs and a strict no-food-or-drink policy. Photo: Andrew Rush/ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS CHICAGO Derek Micheau dreamed of playing baseball in college until he injured his shoulder and knee. He had to give up that dream, but he still found a way to play sports in college. Robert Morris University Illinois gave Micheau an athletic scholarship. Scholarships help students pay for their education. They are often given to talented athletes. Micheau doesn't play football, basketball or tennis, however. He plays video games. Robert Morris is the first U.S. university to offer scholarships for video game players. Thirty-five gamers were given scholarships this fall.

2 Playing Helps Him Pay My mom thought it was a scam, said Michaeu, a 20-year-old freshman from Olympia, Washington. His mother thought the school might be lying to get more students and make more money from tuition. But the scholarship was not a scam. Each student at Robert Morris normally pays more than $30,000 each year for classes and housing. Micheau's scholarship pays for half of that. His talent as a gamer saved him thousands of dollars. Robert Morris has many sports teams. These teams represent the school and play against other college teams. To help their teams win, schools often seek out talented players. Scholarships are one of the ways that schools attract these players. So sports scholarships are nothing new. But sports scholarships for video game players are new. Why are colleges willing to spend money to attract sports players in the first place? One reason is that college sports teams can give a school a sense of pride. When a school's team wins, it gives the school's community something to celebrate. "League Of Legends" Robert Morris' teams play League of Legends, a multiplayer team game. Teams battle each other head-to-head. Each team tries to knock down the other team's tower while defending its own tower. The first team to knock down the other team's tower wins. Robert Morris two top teams are undefeated this year. The esports teams are like any other college sports team. Players wear official sweatshirts and jackets. They learn from five coaches. We re definitely taking it seriously. We want them to do well, said Kurt Melcher, who works in the athletics department. The school has spent a lot of money on its esports program. In addition to the scholarships, the school spent $100,000 on a new esports Arena. It was Melcher's idea to offer scholarships to gamers. These scholarships have gotten Robert Morris a lot of national attention. The esports scholarships have been discussed by several news sources including ESPN, NPR and HBO s Real Sports.

3 They Can "Go Pro" After they finish college, some gamers can make a lot of money. The best gamers earn more than $100,000 each year. When a player wins, he or she often receives prize money. In 2013, winners took home more than $25 million in prizes. Video-game competitions are on the rise. Their popularity might surprise people who are unfamiliar with the world of gaming. For example, the League of Legends finals in 2013 sold out at the Staples Center home of the Lakers basketball team in Los Angeles. Thousands of viewers paid money to watch, just like any big sports event. The 2014 finals, held last month, drew more than 40,000 fans. Millions of other people watched online. Will other schools follow the example of Robert Morris? Maybe. Gaming is so popular that esports scholarships may eventually become common. With scholarships in mind, some parents might want to think twice before telling their kids to stop playing video games. Being a great gamer could save a student a lot of money on tuition. Nancy Donohoe, who works at Robert Morris, says that the scholarships are "kind of cool." She pointed at that video game players do not usually get the same level of attention that traditional sports players do. Scholarships could change this. Someday, gamers might be just as popular as basketball and football players.

4 Quiz 1 Select the paragraph from the section "They Can Go Pro" that provides evidence for the size of the esports following. 2 Which sentence from the article most accurately describes the game played by Derek Micheau? Each team tries to knock down the other team's tower while defending its own tower. He had to give up that dream, but he still found a way to play sports in college. The esports scholarship have been discussed by several news sources including ESPN, NPR and HBO s Real Sports. The esports teams are like any other college sports team. 3 Read the sentence from the article. The esports scholarships have been discussed by several news sources including ESPN, NPR and HBO s Real Sports. Which definition BEST fits the meaning of "sources" in the sentence above? a place or person from which something comes a person or group who provides information a spring where a river or stream starts a book or document that provides evidence 4 Read the sentence from the article. Video games competitions are on the rise. Which word could replace "competitions" without changing the meaning of the sentence? contests conflicts fights fixtures

5 Answer Key 1 Select the paragraph from the section "They Can Go Pro" that provides evidence for the size of the esports following. Paragraph 14: Video-game competitions are on the rise. Their popularity might surprise people who are unfamiliar with the world of gaming. For example, the League of Legends finals in 2013 sold out at the Staples Center home of the Lakers basketball team in Los Angeles. Thousands of viewers paid money to watch, just like any big sports event. The 2014 finals, held last month, drew more than 40,000 fans. Millions of other people watched online. 2 Which sentence from the article most accurately describes the game played by Derek Micheau? Each team tries to knock down the other team's tower while defending its own tower. He had to give up that dream, but he still found a way to play sports in college. The esports scholarship have been discussed by several news sources including ESPN, NPR and HBO s Real Sports. The esports teams are like any other college sports team. 3 Read the sentence from the article. The esports scholarships have been discussed by several news sources including ESPN, NPR and HBO s Real Sports. Which definition BEST fits the meaning of "sources" in the sentence above? a place or person from which something comes a person or group who provides information a spring where a river or stream starts a book or document that provides evidence

6 4 Read the sentence from the article. Video games competitions are on the rise. Which word could replace "competitions" without changing the meaning of the sentence? contests conflicts fights fixtures

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