Michigan State Esports Varsity Program Offering Scholarships

The booming collegiate esports scene means offering scholarships to attract the best players. MSU’s growing program will start the scholarships in the fall.

In recent years, esports have evolved into a world of opportunity for players. While many still use gaming to escape the stress of daily life, some use the sport to earn scholarships and build careers.

Chris Bilski, Michigan State’s director of esports, said the number of schools with varsity esports teams has grown from six to 30 in the last few years, and he is excited to compete against other schools in the Big Ten like other MSU sports teams do.

The scholarships offered by MSU will vary in amount, but will be of the partial ride variety. Much like varsity sports, where most athletes are on less than full rides.

The esports world demands the best players live focused lives on their sport, akin to other MSU varsity athletes on campus.

“If you look at our varsity esports program, it’s similar to what you would see from any other varsity athletic program,” said Bilski. “The amount of practices we have, our match schedules, we do video and film review just like any other athletic team, and we work out. We have fitness and nutrition programs built into our teams as well.”

Michigan State senior Daniel Weatherspoon, the captain of the Smash A team, said he is happy with the direction that Spartan esports is headed, but wishes the growth happened earlier in his academic career.

“Esports gives people another way to earn a college scholarship,” said Weatherspoon. “Even with less of a time commitment. Some people play sports their whole lives to earn a scholarship. People can get good at a game in just a year or two and now have the opportunity to do the same.”


— Joe Ayrault

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Esports at MSU