UC Irvine announces esports scholarship initiative, first for a public university

(Photo: UCI)

UC Irvine will be the first public university to launch an esports initiative, the school announced on Wednesday.

The initiative will include scholarships for up to 10 student athletes to compete in the League of Legends collegiate league. The team will be playing on UC Irvine’s own esports stage, built for specifically for the program, which includes a slew of high level PCs and a studio for casters.

Riot Games has pledged their support for the program, although it’s somewhat unclear as to what they will be doing specifically. 

“We’re honored to work with UCI to create a permanent home for gamers on campus and hope this will inspire similar programs at colleges and universities across North America,” said Ramon Hermann, Riot’s head of collegiate competition.

This isn’t the first time a college has offered scholarships in esports. Richard Morris University was the first to do so, producing current Immortals support player Adrian “Adrian” Ma as a result. Since then, other private universities schools like Columbia College in Missouri and the University of Pikeville have added similar programs.

Taylor Cocke has already graduated from the UC system, but now he wishes he could go back. Follow him on Twitter @taylorcocke.