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Volume 25 No. 23
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SUNY Canton Putting Myriad Resources Behind New Esports Program Set To Launch In '18

SUNY Canton "will add esports to its athletics offerings" in '18, but the school has "much bigger plans than that," according to Sean Morrison of ESPN.com. From a residence hall that "caters to esports enthusiasts to a competitive space on campus and including its online students in potential rosters, SUNY Canton plans to take a holistic approach to incorporating gaming into the university." SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran: "This wasn't just the head of athletics saying, 'I think this is a good idea.' It was him and other personnel in the athletics area and our academics converging with that area of interest. It was a full-campus press." Szafran said that the school is "working with vendors to get the gear and setup it needs to begin competition in League of Legends, Hearthstone and Overwatch by January or February." The ECAC, where SUNY Canton competes in other sports, is also "interested in e-versions of its traditional offerings, such as Madden, NBA 2K and FIFA, though conference competition in those esports has not been formalized yet." SUNY Canton esports coach Rob Snow said that recruitment of players is "well underway." The school's "burgeoning Super Smash Bros. community is a future target for a varsity program as well, as is giving online students the opportunity to compete." Those players would "become some of the first remote varsity athletes." Szafran: "We want our online students to be totally integrated into the life of the college. Esports, in one sense, is a way of giving an applied thing to some of our academic programs" (ESPN.com, 12/15).

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.