Get Ready for an Epic 16-Team HBCU eSports League

Organizers are bringing eSports to HBCU campuses in the form of two tournaments this year and a full league in 2021.

Gaming and eSports are here to take over the world. And thanks to support from various entities and dedication to its students, HBCUs will be among those game-changers in the industry.

The Undefeated’s David Steele reports a whole lot of eSports are coming to historically Black college and universities (HBCU).

According to the report, the rollout will take place over the fall and comes in conjunction with an organization already well-versed in collegiate gaming.

The Collegiate StarLeague (CSL), already boasting 2,000 schools and 100,000 players, will help host the league, which will be 16 teams and kick off with a couple of timely tournaments.

First will be an invitational in September and a following “homecoming” tournament in October.

As for the actual league, we will have to  have a bit more patience for an extensive presentation as that isn’t to take place until “early 2021.”

Launching something of this magnitude served a couple of purposes. The gaming landscape is largely devoid of people of color. Changing that fact takes time and opportunity of access.

Most importantly to HBCU institutions that put a heavy emphasis on education, gaming seemed like a way to further instigate passion for STEM subjects.

Rod Chappell is the executive director HBCU Direct and helped put together the budding league. He spoke to the impetus behind the initiative.

“As big as sports are, and that’s how they’re thought of, it’s hard to get additional sports onto HBCU campuses,” Chappell told the Undefeated. “That’s why we’re emphasizing education, curriculums and full-time careers. Coming in this manner, in a much broader ecosystem than just sports – as actual education – that really got [the participating schools] interested.”

The cause is getting some help with two entities well known in the industry. Twitch and Cxmmunity. The former is the popular streaming platform that hosts so many prolific gamers and their content.

The latter is a non-profit organization whose very mission is to increase the number of minorities taking part in the gaming industry.

The organization’s website posts statistics that highlight the chasm of representation within the gaming community: “data shows that 83% of minority teens play videos games as opposed to 71% of European/Caucasian teens, and only about 14% percent of video games are made up of Latinx and African-American creators, as opposed to 68% European/Caucasian video game creators,” according to Cxmmunity.

The organization’s co-founder, Chris Peay, recently spoke to the need to infuse gaming with more people of color.

“Growing up we’re often taught you get good grades so that you can get into a good college, graduate from that college, and find a good job,” Peay said, via The Verge. “Very seldom do we talk about entrepreneurship, let alone entrepreneurship within the esports and video game industry. It’s actually frowned upon in some fashion.”

Initiatives such as this league is just one more way to infuse gaming with much-needed diversity and grant access to students who might otherwise overlook an industry that continues to expand.