The University of North Texas is set to be the first public university in the state to offer esports scholarships to current and upcoming students.
According to the Dallas Observer, the scholarships will total $20,000 and will be awarded to 25 to 30 students who will compete in the 2019-20 varsity season.
“Very quickly, and thanks to some incredible hard work and dedication, we knew that we had a few incredibly gifted and hardworking students on our own campus,” Dylan Wray, UNT esports coordinator, wrote in an email to the Observer. “Scholarships will give us an edge to recruit and maintain top athletes at UNT, so that we remain a competitive leader in the collegiate scene.”
The school plans to hold varsity tryouts in August for first-person shooter Overwatch, the card battle game Hearthstone, Riot Games' online battle arena League of Legends and Psyonix's car soccer game Rocket League.
Those who will received the scholarships will have to meet certain requirements, including full-time enrollment.
Wray said that students put in 15 to 25 hours per week on esports, while also attending classes. He said the program participants still manage an average grade-point average of 3.21.
“We feel that scholarships offer a way that we can reward them for their hard work and dedication to representing UNT in the best of their abilities and as a team,” Wray told the Observer.