Utah becomes first Power Five school to offer video game scholarships

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Utah has always been something of a cutting edge athletic program.

As a member of the Mountain West Conference in 2004, the Utes became the first non-BCS team invited to play in a BCS  bowl game. Not only did Utah play, but it won, blowing out Pittsburgh 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl.

In 2005, Utah became the first (and still only) school to produce the No. 1 pick in both the NFL (Alex Smith) and NBA (Andrew Bogut) drafts in the same year.

Now a member of the Pac-12, the Utes are again making history.

According to a report from Even Novy-Williams of Bloomberg, “The University of Utah will become the first big-time sports school to offer scholarships for competitive video gaming, so far the most high-profile entry into collegiate esports.”


“Backed by the Salt Lake City school’s video game development program, Utah’s first varsity esports team will play Riot Games’ popular League of Legends and compete in Riot’s collegiate league,” the report said. “More teams in other games will be announced this year.”

Hopefully, kids everywhere are taking notes on this.

If your parents ever walk into a room and see you playing video games in front of a TV or computer and ask “Why do you play video games so darn much?” you now have an answer. You’re not only preparing for college, but you’re trying to lighten your parents financial load by earning a scholarship.

You’re welcome.