More gamers are going to college every year, and schools that invest in esports are seeing results. Tespa is leading the charge toward making esports more integral to the student experience. It’s a lofty goal—and to get there, Tespa is collaborating with colleges and universities everywhere to bring gaming into the spotlight of varsity competition.
Tespa’s mission to support gaming on college campuses has brought together countless competitions, millions of dollars in prizes, and a national network of over 60,000 members in schools across North America. Tespa has grown into a 200-chapter strong organization that brings gamers together through community and competitive programs.
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
Foremost among Tespa’s 2018 initiatives is the Hearthstone varsity program, the Hearthstone Collegiate Championships (HCC) Varsity Division. With only a handful of teams and more initial rounds, the Varsity Division is a gauntlet, designed to test the mettle of serious competitors.
Twenty-three powerhouse Hearthstone teams were welcomed into the inaugural varsity class. These varsity competitors are expected to devote more time to their game, playing more total matches than their counterparts in the open division. For viewers, the Varsity Division serves as an introduction to the emerging rivalries in the college Hearthstone scene—drawing attention to both schools and the student gamers leading their teams into battle.
Tespa’s 2018 programs have already opened doors to over half a million dollars in scholarship grants for college Hearthstone players. As participation in the competitive scene increases, publicity and payouts for student gamers are set to grow—and be awarded to esports athletes and the schools that support them.
While these gains are vital to growing college gaming, Tespa will never lose sight of the larger mission of colleges and universities to support students as they prepare for their futures. Tespa’s goal is not only to grow our own competitions—starting with Hearthstone—but also to continue to promote a holistic approach to gaming on campuses. Like athletics, gaming should improve student life on campuses, not distract from the goal of earning a degree.
Schools that wish to join the fray must meet a minimum threshold of support for their players to be eligible. Qualified varsity programs must provide scholarships for students representing their school. In turn, Tespa also expects competitors who represent schools in the Varsity program to be full-time students.
Tespa’s esports programs will always encourage universities and students to put education first. Expect these requirements to level up over time to better suit the needs of our competitive community.
From a play perspective, Tespa has something for everyone. From varsity esports to casual game nights, Tespa has always sought to promote healthy competition on campus. Our community support spans campuses from Hawaii to Nova Scotia, bringing social experiences and networking to student gamers across the continent.
For the very best of our college student competitors, we hope to deliver an experience that encourages them to pursue higher education, not avoid it. Tespa believes that players who compete at the highest level should be empowered to do so without putting their studies on hold.
Varsity or not, Tespa tournaments are designed to accommodate thousands of collegiate teams, each with different competitive goals and schedules. No matter your school, we will continue our commitment to offering open tournaments for all college students.
VARSITY IN ACTION
While Tespa’s focus may be on improving varsity esports, the collegiate Hearthstone season is far from over. The HCC Varsity Division is through its initial 14 rounds of Swiss play, but the competition still rages on.
The top 8 varsity juggernauts entered the arena on April 7th, where the University of Utah dominated the bracket and earned the right to represent the Varsity Division in the HCC Championship Bracket.
Watch the HCC Championship Bracket live on twitch.tv/playhearthstone on April 28 – 29 where the final eight teams will punch their tickets to the live finals in California in May to compete for their share of $150,000 in scholarship prizing.