Video games could be the next step in the evolution of high school sports. The National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) have entered a partnership with online gaming provider PlayVS to begin esport competitions in high schools throughout the nation.
According to NFHS representatives, the group is currently discussing esports with Texas’ University Interscholastic League (UIL) which oversees high school sports.
“It does not appear that (UIL) will adopt for the fall 2018 season,” NFHS Chief Executive Officer Mark Koski said via email.
NBC 5 reached out to North Texas school districts about their plans for esports.
Garland ISD has started looking into getting at least one team per high school.
Northwest ISD is allowing high schools and middle schools to form gaming clubs.
Carrollton–Farmer’s Branch ISD has already had one gaming club at a high school.
Christian Gross, the captain of the University of Texas at Arlington’s esports team, has been working with local high schools; discussing esports.
“You have the five players or the six players for the regular team such as ‘League of Legends’ or ‘Overwatch’ which are some of the top games,” Gross said. “They are going out and they are playing these games. It doesn’t have to be against people who are locally.”
“There are a lot of issues with games and the more realistic the violence becomes and that is something that we are all well aware of,” Gross added. “We are keeping those games out of the high school ecosystem as much as we can.”
Gross said most esports in schools keep an emphasis on academics.
“The same way that a regular sport is making sure that people have their academics on lock,” he said.
Gross said many of the students who are interested in esports are already doing well in school.
“It just gives them a medium for them to be the star athlete and that is something that these kids don’t normally get,” Gross said. “I think that’s an important part of building self-confidence and really being able to have a goal for them to shoot for.”
In 2017, esports was a $1.5 billion industry and it could lead to many opportunities for the students in the future.
“There is an esports infrastructure that is being built that goes way beyond being a professional player,” Gross said.
Other jobs leading from esports include events management, announcing or broadcasting, coaching or analyst.