- Associated Press - Saturday, April 15, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Members of the University of Minnesota’s League of Legends club say they want their esports team recognized as an official sport.

Members have one main goal: unlocking student-athlete status, the Minnesota Daily (https://bit.ly/2oktiN5 ) reported.

The team wants the university’s athletics department to grant them a devoted team lounge, open 24/7, with increased internet speeds.

“We want to treat League as if it were a real sport,” said Jeff Wang, a team member. “It’s definitely just as rigorous and has as equal depth as any game.”

Team members say their players will be better equipped to compete against school League of Legends teams with similar funding.

“We know other teams are taking it way more seriously than the U is taking it,” Wang said. “And until the added help, we’re trying to take it as seriously as we can.”

Each of the six players on the team, which is registered with the Big Ten Network, received $5,000 scholarships for participating in the network’s first-ever esports competition earlier this month. The team began tryouts for next season just days after the tournament, which attracted 12 schools.

“We have a group that is putting in time and effort to represent the school,” Wang said.

Some colleges, such as Columbia College, Lourdes University and Robert Morris University, recognize their esports players as student-athletes and award them scholarships.

“Having lots of people who understand what you’re doing and respect what you’re trying to do for the school is awesome,” said Evan Lawson, a Robert Morris student who receives an athletic scholarship to play League of Legends.


Information from: The Minnesota Daily, https://www.mndaily.com/

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