The St. Thomas Aquinas College eSports team announced on Thursday that they have become members of the National Association of Collegiate ESports (NACE). In addition, the East Coast Conference announced that they will be sponsoring eSports, beginning in early 2019.
The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) is a nonprofit membership association organized by and on behalf of our member institutions. Together, members are developing the structure and tools needed to advance collegiate esports in the varsity space. Members are collaborating to lay the groundwork in areas such as: Eligibility, Path to Graduation, and Competition & Scholarships. NACE is the only association of varsity esports programs at colleges and universities across the U.S.
NACE officially formed on July 28, 2016 at the first ever Collegiate Esports Summit held in Kansas City, MO. At that time only seven colleges and universities had varsity esports programs. Since then a rapidly growing number of institutions have launched varsity programming, with a current count of 63 institutions. As of January 2017, over 94% of all varsity esports programs in the U.S. are members of NACE with an ever increasing number of schools exploring esports.
On the conference level, the ECC will crown an eSports Champion starting with regular season play in January 2019 and culminating with an ECC Championship tournament beginning in March. The participating squads will play the game League of Legends from Riot Games.
The East Coast Conference will be the second NCAA Division II conference to offer an eSports championship, joining the Peach Belt Conference, which rolled their league schedule out this year. ECC institutions that have committed to play next fall include Daemen College, LIU Post, Mercy College, Molloy College, NYIT and St. Thomas Aquinas College.
Beginning in the winter of 2019, participating teams will play a round robin schedule over the course of the early spring semester with the top four moving to the ECC eSports Championship, which is now one of 19 the conference offers each year. The winner and runner up from the ECC will both gain entry into the College League of Legends Championship bracket, with the chance of qualifying for the Riot Games League of Legends National Championship.
The Spartan eSports team, led by Director Kevin Roth, has already begun preparations for play in both NACE and the ECC as the current squad meets regularly for practices and mock competition.
For more information about the St. Thomas Aquinas College eSports program or to join, please contact eSports Director, Kevin Roth at firstname.lastname@example.org.