One college gives scholarships to video gamers who win in its esports Arena

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1 One college gives scholarships to video gamers who win in its esports Arena By Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, adapted by Newsela staff on Word Count 745 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 Two injuries during his junior year of high school ended Derek Micheau s dream of being a baseball player. In the end, he was still able to be a college athlete. In fact, he received a scholarship from Robert Morris University Illinois. A scholarship is something that helps students pay for their education. Colleges often give athletic scholarships to promising athletes. Micheau's scholarship was worth thousands of dollars. Micheau doesn't play soccer, basketball or tennis he plays video games.

2 Micheau is one of 35 video game players who received an athletic scholarship to Robert Morris University Illinois this fall. The school in Chicago recently became the first U.S. university to offer scholarships for video gaming. Scholarships For esports 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 is no scam. Each student normally pays more than $30,000 per year to live and study at Robert Morris. Micheau's scholarship pays for half of that cost. Like many colleges, Robert Morris has athletic teams. These teams represent the school and play against other college teams. To help their teams win, schools often seek out students with athletic ability. Scholarships are one of the ways that schools attract talented athletes. To encourage players to attend their school rather than a competing school, colleges offer to pay for part or all of their players' education. Athletic scholarships, in other words, are nothing new, but scholarships for video game players are. Robert Morris's scholarships are part of its new electronic sports program, also known as esports. Why are colleges willing to spend money to attract athletes in the first place? One reason is that college sports teams can be a source of school pride. Even though they are expensive, schools are willing to pay for high-level athletic programs. Undefeated At "League Of Legends" ESports athletes play League of Legends, a multiplayer team game. Teams go against each other in head-to-head battles where 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. Gamers are treated like any other group of college athletes. They wear official sweatshirts and jackets. They practice under the supervision of a head coach and four assistant 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.

3 It was his idea to offer scholarships to esports athletes. These scholarships have gotten Robert Morris a lot of national attention. The esports scholarship program has been covered by several news sources including ESPN, NPR and HBO s Real Sports. Going On To The Pros After they graduate, some esports athletes can make a lot of money as professional gamers. The best professionals earn more than $100,000 per year. When a player does well in a gaming tournament, he or she can win prize money. In 2013, winners took home more than $25 million in prizes. That money is just a fraction of the amount that video games companies take in each year. Overall, the industry brings in $25 billion annually. 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 in Los Angeles, the home of the Lakers basketball team. Thousands of viewers paid money to watch, just like any major sports event. The 2014 finals, held last month, drew more than 40,000 fans. Millions more watched online. Other schools may follow the example of Robert Morris and start giving out esports scholarships. With these 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. Nancy Donohoe, who works at Robert Morris, says that the scholarships are "kind of cool." She pointed out that video game players do not usually get the same level of attention that traditional athletes 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 "Undefeated At League Of Legends" that compares Micheau to college students who play sports. 2 Which section of the article has several predictions about the future of esports? the introduction [paragraphs 1-5] "Undefeated At League Of Legends" "Scholarships For esports" "Going On To The Pros" 3 Read the introductory paragraph of the article. What happened to Derek Micheau during his junior year of high school? He no longer wanted to play baseball. He got cut from the high school baseball team. He got hurt while playing baseball. He got bored with playing baseball. 4 Read the sentence from the article. My mom thought it was a scam, said Michaeu, a 20-year-old freshman from Olympia, Washington. Which term has the most similar meaning to "scam"? rip up rip into trap trick

5 Answer Key 1 Select the paragraph from the section "Undefeated At League Of Legends" that compares Micheau to college students who play sports. Paragraph 11: Gamers are treated like any other group of college athletes. They wear official sweatshirts and jackets. They practice under the supervision of a head coach and four assistant coaches. 2 Which section of the article has several predictions about the future of esports? the introduction [paragraphs 1-5] "Undefeated At League Of Legends" "Scholarships For esports" "Going On To The Pros" 3 Read the introductory paragraph of the article. What happened to Derek Micheau during his junior year of high school? He no longer wanted to play baseball. He got cut from the high school baseball team. He got hurt while playing baseball. He got bored with playing baseball. 4 Read the sentence from the article. My mom thought it was a scam, said Michaeu, a 20-year-old freshman from Olympia, Washington. Which term has the most similar meaning to "scam"? rip up rip into trap trick

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