The University of California, Irvine is expanding its esports scholarship offering.
Following a $50,000 donation from Street Media, the school is now seeking to start a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate team.
Street Media CEO Brian Calle shared the organization is happy to help UCI Esports develop new Smash talent.
“UCI Esports is the leader in gaming education and the yardstick by which other programs are measured,” Calle said in a statement. “As an avid gamer and Smash player, it’s inspiring to see the dedication and commitment these students give to the game, and to see them recognized as collegiate athletes.”
All UCI students will be able to attend tryouts this October, with six being selected to join the team. UCI will provide their new Smash Bros. team with coaching and management staff that will help them organize practices and tournaments, ensure proper equipment, run social media accounts, and more.
Each of the students chosen for the Smash Ultimate scholarship will get $6,000 and covered administrative costs. In return, they will represent UCI at tournaments, train at least 10 to 15 hours a week, and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.
Formed in 2015, UCI Esports is the first official university esports program. It also offers League of Legends and Overwatch scholarships. Besides scholarships, the program offers an esports arena and club teams.
Collegiate esports is looking like fertile territory in the industry.
The NCAA voted against establishing itself as the governing body for collegiate esports in May, which served as a green light for other entities to step in and fill that void. Game publishers, TV networks, and grassroots efforts have all popped up looking to become established as the central association for collegiate esports.
With more and more schools establishing esports programs, expect competition in the field to increase at every level.