College eSports: Challenges in Regulating a New League


Video gaming is a pastime, source of entertainment, and forum for interaction that a growing mass of the population enjoys. Lately, it is also coming to be viewed as a sport. ESports is a billion-dollar industry that has captivated millions of players and fans across the globe. There is a movement on the part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to accept individual and team video gamers as athletes at future Olympic events. Similarly, in the United States there is also a movement for colleges and universities to embrace the sport.

The regulations that apply to the burgeoning sport are not as clearly defined or as well enforced as sports operating under the guidance of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Individual players must assess the prospects and risks of playing, and so must university administrators when determining how much credence they invest in the National Association of Collegiate Esports in managing any number of potential issues. A few of these (e.g., performance enhancing drug use, toxic team culture) are presented in this case to permit discussion of the trade-offs of policing unsportsmanlike conduct through less formal means versus an approach that would mimic more of the NCAA in its scope.

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