Allegheny’s newest competitive team? It could be esports.

A group of Allegheny College students plans to bring a new competitive team to the school, and with it, physical changes to parts of campus.

Its competition? E-Sports.

Though its constitution was tabled at the Tuesday, Nov. 13, Allegheny Student Government general assembly meeting, Allegheny College E-Sports has made progress toward becoming a fixture at Allegheny, including the potential purchase of computers and an associated update of Murray Hall room 117.

Jacob Walters, ’21, has spearheaded the efforts along with Isaac Barrezueta, ’20, and said the plans to bring an esports club to campus began in the spring semester of 2018.

Esports typically take the form of multiplayer online video games, such as League of Legends. Riot Games, which produces League of Legends, hosts an annual competition called the North American Collegiate Championship. In 2017, 1,600 teams competed for a spot in the championship, Riot’s website claims.

While one of the largest, the NACC is not the only competition for esports, which has a number of governing bodies and cooperative associations. The National Association of Collegiate eSports boasts over 80 member schools and 1,500 members in what it calls “the only association of varsity esports programs” at American colleges and universities. Members compete in a variety of games, including Counter Strike, Hearthstone and Overwatch.

Eight Pennsylvania colleges are members of the NACE, including Edinboro University. According to its website, NACE participants have earned over $9 million in esports scholarships.

ACE will likely begin the spring 2019 semester with two teams — one for League of Legends and another for Heroes of the Storm — Walters said.

Another association of esports teams, Tespa, has member schools from Pennsylvania, including Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Those three schools join over 270 North American Tespa chapters, and the Tespa site says over 102,000 students are currently members or alumni.

This summer, over 100 representatives for esports met with the International Olympic Committee to “increase collaboration between various stakeholders of the Olympic Movement and the esports and gaming community.” This comes after an October 2017 meeting in which the IOC initially probed the idea of including esports in its quadrennial competitions.

An integral part of investing in an Allegheny esports team was the college’s purchase of 18 computers, according to Walters and Director of Information Technology Services James Fadden. This would require a “reconfiguration” of room 117 in Murray Hall, Fadden said, as the desks there are about 20 years old and not conducive to the prospective team’s goals.

Fadden has worked with the students since July 2018 and said he is excited to be involved in this type of experience with students.

“It’s not a whim,” Fadden said, adding that the work students have put into the team — and the assistance the college has and plans to render — shows the investment those interested have made.

Walters said the college plans to have fully updated Murray 117 by the end of the fall semester.

One concern with adding new workstations to Murray would be theft, damage or vandalism, Fadden said. But, he added, the Robertson Baseball and Softball and Frank B. Fuhrer Fields are college-owned, but accessible only to those who need it to prevent similar issues.

ASG requires club constitutions to be approved at two consecutive general assembly meetings. If the esports team’s constitution passes twice, it is then eligible to have a budget no more than $300 and use of the General, Surplus and Speaker Funds. The Surplus Fund is specifically designated for “capital improvements” to the college, including equipment that will remain with Allegheny for two or more years.

Walters said ACE was able to utilize college funds to purchase the computers, and they plan on collaborating with the computer-building club.

“They are going to maintain our computers for us, so they have some higher quality computers to gain experience with and we know our computers will be well maintained,” Walters wrote in an email to The Campus.