Competitive esports is a rapidly growing program in many colleges and high schools today. The implication of COVID-19 has only sped up its popularity through the availability of playing from home, that almost all typical high school and college sports do not provide. Common programs include Rocket League, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, Overwatch, and League of Legends. The University of Missouri has been a pioneer in this setting.
Mizzou is only the third Power 5 School and first in the SEC to join the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) and has invested heavily into esports, like few schools have, and because of that, offers a Division I experience that no other esports program in the country can match. Mizzou has shown that they believe in the sincerity of esports and has placed their money where their mouth is. Teams practice and compete in the 5,000-square-foot MSI Training Facility on campus, one of the largest university gaming facilities in the nation. The facility will soon be home to a 2,200 square-foot LAN Center and studio. The LAN Center will provide any gamer on campus with a safe and comfortable place to play games, meet other students with similar interests, study in a unique environment and find hands-on learning opportunities within the Mizzou Esports program.
Varsity players compete in Overwatch, Rocket League and League of Legends, with most receiving scholarships and housing. There are currently 21 student athletes receiving some form of scholarship to compete for the Mizzou Esports program. The total valuation of scholarship packages in 2019-2020 is over $150,000. Here’s where the powerhouse comes in. These varsity squads combined have given Mizzou a 71% overall win percentage as of November 2020. Mizzou’s teams have seen tremendous success in their competition. Rocket League won the NACE Rocket League Championship in Atlanta, Georgia in November 2019, recently appeared on ESPN2 in the Maui Esports Invitational, as well as winning the 2020 College Rocket League Western championship, beating other talented teams such as University of Oregon, Louisiana State University, and University of North Texas. The Overwatch squad was one of 12 teams to be invited to compete in the Tespa Varsity Invitational. The team was nationally ranked seventh in the Efuse coaches’ poll, in their seventh week of play. Finally, the League of Legends team competes in the RSAA-sanctioned Midwest Esports Conference, traveling to universities in Kansas, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri for our regular season matches. Mizzou Esports’ cumulative GPA in the Fall 2019 semester was a brilliant 3.08. The program is led by general manager Kevin Reape.
The University has most recently added multiple club teams (non-scholarship squads) that have seen tremendous success in the following games: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, Valorant, and Super Smash Bros. The Valorant players were 5-0 on the season as of December 4, 2020 and made a run in the NACE 2020 Championships, finishing second. The Smash team finished ninth out of 64 teams in the 2020 fall NACE playoffs. It's safe to say that Esports is growing and here to stay.
Join Mizzou’s gaming community in the Discord: https://discord.com/invite/mizzou
Watch the teams compete and other fun streams at: https://www.twitch.tv/mizzouesports