Esports being added as pilot activity by VHSL
Staunton News Leader
Esports are coming to Virginia high schools.
The Virginia High School League executive committee approved a one-year pilot program for esports. Two seasons will be offered, with the first one running from October until January and the second one yet to be announced, although the VHSL’s Darrell Wilson said it will likely be February to May.
“We anticipate most schools who want to participate will get organized at the start of the school year, and have a month or so before the preseason starts in October,” Wilson said.
Esports involves competitive video gameplay between two teams. The three game titles being offered are League of Legends, Rocket League, and SMITE. The cost per student will be $64 per game title, per season.
“Since approved by the Executive Committee, there has been a lot of positive feedback from schools and sponsors who are very excited about esports,” said VHSL executive director Billy Haun in a press release. “The Virginia High School League is always looking to increase opportunities for students beyond the traditional activities.”
It’s unclear if any schools in Augusta County, Staunton or Waynesboro will be taking part in the pilot program. Waynesboro’s athletic director Derek McDaniel said his school hasn’t discussed it yet, but Fort Defiance AD Mark Mace said there is interest.
“We are talking about it,” he wrote in a text message. “Like to do it.”
Students who participate would maintain eligibility to participate in other VHSL activities. Practices and competitions would take place after school, and all competitions will be online, meaning no travel will be necessary. Schools may enter more than one team in each game title competition.
A Twitter poll asking if there is an interest in esports as a high school sport had 273 votes just before 3 p.m Tuesday. “Yes” votes were at 39%, “No” votes had 38% and “What the heck are esports” was at 23%.
“I think it’s crazy that esports have come this far,” Wilson von Seldeneck said. “A few years ago I never would have thought that playing video games would be a high school sport.
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“Going through high school my friends and I would team up and play against friends from other schools in the area for bragging rights and it’s awesome that now there’s an official league for high school students.”
Parker Wood tweeted, “I would have much rather had a ping pong or ultimate frisbee team in high school instead of esports.””
Meanwhile, Tony Schiavone wrote, “Another sign of the Apocalypse.”
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Follow Patrick on Twitter @Patrick_Hite
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