On February 1, 2019, the Carl Albert State College Board of Regents voted to implement an eSports program for both campuses in Poteau and Sallisaw.
This vote made CASC the first community college in Oklahoma to become a member of the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE). NACE is a non-profit membership association that began in 2016 at the first-ever Collegiate eSports Summit in Kansas City, MO. NACE is endorsed by the NJCAA and NAIA.
Upon establishment in 2016, NACE’s membership consisted of 7 colleges and universities that offered varsity eSports programs to its students. In the years since inception, NACE’s membership has steadily risen to 119 colleges and universities in 2019.
Oklahoma is home to three educational institutions that offer eSports to its students: The University of Oklahoma, Rogers State University, and CASC.
“When most people imagine education in Southeast Oklahoma,” said Randy Armstrong, CASC eSports Coordinator and Recruiter, “competitive video gaming is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. However, we hope to be at the forefront of this movement and use this stereotype to our advantage. In true CASC fashion, we are providing opportunities for local students and discovering a wealth of talented competitors who have, quite frankly, been overlooked until now.”
Students who are selected to compete on the CASC Varsity eSports team will receive a scholarship waiver for free textbooks along with a 25% Housing Waiver, valued at $200, for team members who live on the Poteau campus. Scholarships for the eSports program will include six individual scholarships for the game Overwatch, and six individual scholarships for the game Rocket League.
Improved hand and eye-coordination is not the only incentive for students to join the eSports program. Students who compete in the program will have opportunities to incorporate their skills with their educational coursework. The eSports program will correspond with two degrees CASC offers: Computer Information Systems, and Computer Technology.
“Starting the program is exciting in itself,” Armstrong continued, “but our Coaches and I agree that being ‘groundbreaking’ or ‘trendsetting’ is only going to be exciting for about a year. Moving forward, we want our school and community to continue to be excited about CASC eSports, and in order to do that it’s not going to be enough to just haveeSports program, we want to establish ourselves as dominant figure in our state and our region. We’re playing to win.”
CASC is now accepting applications for individuals who are interested in joining its eSports program. If you or someone you know is passionate about online gaming, CASC would like to encourage you to apply for the program.
Those interested in applying should contact Randy Armstrong at 918-413-1051 and then apply online at: https://forms.gle/zyTNxwV42eV5WBzb6.