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    NCCU eSports is the newest addition to activities that students will be able to participate in. Photo by Parker Thomas/Echo staff photographer

NCCU students establish eSports club for gamers

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N.C. Central University students who aren’t cut out to be physical athletes can rejoice now because there’s a new sports club in the making. The club’s name is NCCU eSports, which focuses on competitive gaming. The group was established in 2015.

The student leader of the club is Travis McCorkle. He is a senior studying political science and currently serves as the club’s president. McCorkle said it all started with an interest meeting.

“We had an interest meeting last year. They sent out a flyer. I was like ‘I play League of Legend, so I’m going to show up.’ Next thing we knew we had eight people last year,” said McCorkle.

Those eight people met Monday through Thursday at Leroy T. Walker Complex. League of Legend and Super Smash Bros set the tone for  the club’s journey into eSports. Jon Childress, the club’s competitive sports coordinator, said he was currently trying to get more tournaments off the ground for the future.

“I have a meeting with [Derrick Garrett] on Monday. We’re supposed to be setting up some tournaments,” said Childress.

Childress mentioned that other games they would like to run tournaments for include Madden, 2K, and even Mortal Kombat. Last year on April 10 the club held a ”Super Smash Bros 4” tournament. McCorkle thought the event went okay but said he felt as if it could have been a little better.

“It was a step in the right direction,” said McCorkle. “It wasn’t negative but for what we were going for, it’s like we wanted so much but we got a modest amount. We were okay with that.”

Childress agreed with McCorkle about the club’s steady progress.

“We’re just taking the proper steps right now, trying to get there,” he said.

College eSports are not unique to college campuses. Several universities have their own version of an eSports club. They all compete for the same thing: scholarship money.

NCCU eSports is trying to level their club with other organizations from universities, such as Robert Morris University in Chicago, which has paved the way for the competitive gaming on school campuses.

According to ESPN, it is said that eSports “scholarships will cover up to 50 percent of tuition and 50 percent of room and board. That’s worth up to $19,000 per student.”

“We’re trying to get it to where we get people who are coming here, they’re coming here to play those games,” said Childress.

Both Childress and McCorkle are working toward getting the eSports club at NCCU to this level, “step by step.”

Travis McCorkle, the president of NCCU eSports. Photo by Tia Mitchell/Echo Co-editor-in-chief
Travis McCorkle, the president of NCCU eSports. Photo by Tia Mitchell/Echo Co-editor-in-chief

“Hopefully we can reach our ultimate goal to be like other schools where students that come here and maybe get scholarship money, but they come to school for eSports,” said Childress.

McCorkle added that he would like for the club to offer incentives for future gamers to be a part of NCCU’s eSports community.

He said he wants the students to “get some kind of benefit of coming here.”

By establishing the NCCU eSports Club, both McCorkle and Childress’ goal is to have competitive video gaming recognized as a sports club.

If the two manage to get the club off the ground, NCCU will be the first HBCU to have an eSports team competing with other universities.

Childress said that they are planning to have a tournament sometime in January for either Madden or 2K. There has never been a better time to be a competitive gamer than now.

Parker Thomas is a senior in mass communication, focusing on broadcast media. His interests include video games, heavy metal, and guitars. He’s hoping to become a video game composer in the future.

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