Bismarck State College Athletic Director Buster Gillis announced today (July 9, 2019) in a press conference that BSC is entering the rapidly growing and competitive world of esports (electronic sports) by launching a varsity Mystics esports team this fall. The college is actively recruiting gamers to fill the 2019-20 roster with 50 $1,000 scholarships.
"Gaming is mainstream and implementing a team on campus allows us to bring those who may not always become involved in a sport or campus organization together," says Gilliss. "Esports is a means for BSC to attract students, celebrate a diversity of interests on our campus, and invest money to benefit even more of our student body."
ESports gives students access to a unique technology environment and compliments a number of academic programs on campus such as web design, computer science, cybersecurity and mass communications. The strategy leveraged by gamers is relevant to the skills employers are looking for – team play, strategic thinking, problem solving and an ability to handle stressful situations.
"We know students who are engaged in extracurriculars do better academically and socially," says Gilliss.
BSC is a member of the newly formed National Junior College Athletic Association Esports, the governing body for junior college esports, and the Mystics program will be led by coach and advanced gamer Casey Mischel of Mandan, N.D.
Student players will be chosen for the team based on their rank and score history in four games: Overwatch, League of Legends, Heatherstone and Fortnite, and the Mystics will compete against teams from Dickinson State University, University of Jamestown, Minnesota State University Moorhead as well as other NJCAA schools across the country. The collegiate esports season
culminates in a national championship tournament, similar to other collegiate athletics.
"This is a win-win for BSC and we're excited to launch this especially as the momentum is
building in the high schools," says Gilliss.
This fall, 16 North Dakota high schools will have sanctioned esports teams.
Students interested in competing in the 2019-20 Mystics esports season can complete the online recruiting form at Esports recruiting form.