What is going on with 2021-22 scholarships for varsity esports?
The 2020-21 school year was the first year of the esports program. The esports program allocated a portion of its budget to financial aid for its varsity players and was able to award selected players their scholarships in the middle of Fall 2020. It was then discovered in Spring 2021 that the source of the esports program budget is not allowed to be used for financial aid. The esports program has been working since Spring 2021 to claim a source of funding that is allowed to supply financial aid to our varsity players. There will not be financial aid for Fall 2021, however, the esports program will be working to provide financial aid for Spring 2022 and provide updates at esports.kennesaw.edu and the Kennesaw Esports Discord as they come in.
Why did the esports program drop SMITE from the list of varsity titles?
Three reasons for the decision to decrease the number of our varsity titles are: the esports program’s 2021-22 scholarship situation, long-term sustainability, and scheduling logistics for our esports space.
The esports program wants to avoid a situation in Spring where some varsity players do not receive scholarships or the scholarship amount per player is minuscule due to the total number of players on the different titles.
Recruitment is a topic the esports program has begun to address as of Summer 2021. With 2020 being our first year, we were fortunate to have lots of talent already present at our university. The esports program has a lot of growth to do before reaching the levels of recruitment of well-renowned esports programs. Making sure there will be a steady stream of new and talented players within our state is something we felt we could make possible by researching what titles Georgia high school esports programs are competing in. Our research led us to conclude that SMITE is not of those titles and in turn will not be sustainable as a varsity title once current players from our university move on.
The third reason as mentioned above is scheduling logistics for our esports space. With the Marietta campus becoming fully operational in Fall 2021, we expect the traffic in the esports space to increase greatly. We want to make sure the space can be adequately used by the general student body. Reducing the times at which the space is blocked off for varsity team use is a way to achieve that goal.
We will still be supporting SMITE as one of our Competition Club offerings.