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Augustana College on Rock Island will add varsity esports to its sports lineup.
Launched in the fall of 2022, esports is the 29th varsity sport and the premier all-gender varsity sports team in Augustana.
“Our club program has flourished over the past four years,” said Dr. Wes Brooks, Dean of Students. “We knew that expanding this program and taking it to the next level would support the goals of Augustana’s sports program and after-school offerings. “
The Pew Research Center suggests that 72% of high school students play video games.
High School Esports League is the largest and oldest competitive gaming organization serving high school students and educators, with more than 2,100 partner schools in the United States and Canada, with more than 60,000 students.
The Augustana team will fill the varsity roster for certain games: Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, Madden, NBA2K, FIFA, and Sim Racing.
Joe Loomis, former esports head coach at Carroll University, will lead the Augustana program.
The Vikings will face college and university esports teams from the United States and Canada during the regular season and title championships.
In addition to recruiting, training and broadcasting for Augustana sports, Coach Loomis will oversee the new esports center and Augustana recreational leagues. He is a member of the National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors.