DENVER – Johnson & Wales University will take part in the inaugural Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Esports Showdown, hosted by Schreiner University this weekend.
JWU will be one of six SCAC schools competing along with Austin College, Colorado College, Schreiner University, Southwestern University and Trinity University.
Teams will be competing in four different games: League of Legends, Overwatch, Super Smash Bros. and Fortnite.
The SCAC Showdown will be one of the first competitions for the JWU Esports team, a first-year program that started as a club and is captained by Ben Allen. The team has 12-14 members on it right now but hopes to grow in the future as the program becomes more established with competitions like the one this weekend.
"It's definitely fun to see what this could evolve into. It's really nice having new players on the team so that we can get more sustainability," Allen said. "There's varying levels of skill. We've got a couple brand-new players, and it's been really cool to see their growth ever since Week 1."
JWU will compete at this weekend's Showdown remotely while the other five SCAC schools will be facing off in person in Kerrville, Texas. The competition will be streamed live through the Colorado College Twitch account here while a full schedule of events can be found here.
"Although Esports is not yet considered a varsity sport, we are excited to utilize the conference umbrella to provide another extracurricular opportunity for SCAC students to compete," said SCAC Commissioner Dwayne Hanberry. "Our goal at the conference office is to assist our membership in creating memorable experiences for students. We believe this event is another avenue to do that and with a segment of students who perhaps don't get that opportunity in what would be considered the traditional athletic arena."
For those unfamiliar with Esports, Allen says a lot more goes into competing than one might think.
"It's very mentally challenging. You have to take in so much at once, and then plan strategically as well," Allen said. "You need to know what you're doing, what your teammates are doing. I feel like a lot of people are like, 'Oh, it's just playing video games, like Call of Duty or something like that.' While similar, this also has a very tactician-based side of it."