The Cam­pus Jocks Who Prac­tice on Mom’s Couch


Carl Leone at­tended Chicago’s Robert Mor­ris Univer­sity, go­ing to class till noon—stretch­ing tired hands when the lec­tures got bor­ing—and then head­ing to prac­tice from 2 to 9 p.m. Some nights, he con­tin­ued at home for hours af­ter his team’s club­house closed. He wanted to go pro, you see. At League of Leg­ends. Yes, the wildly pop­u­lar game owned by Inc.’ s for­mer Com­pany of the Year Riot Games. In 2014, Leone was one of 35 stu­dents who won the na­tion’s first e-sports schol­ar­ships of­fered by RMU. Around 40 schools of­fer them now. “There are un­be­liev­ably skilled kids,” says RMU’s ex­ec­u­tive e-sports direc­tor, Kurt Melcher. “Why not bring them on the way we do with any other sport?” RMU gives its e-gamers stan­dard jock ac­cou­trements, in­clud­ing uni­forms and med­i­cal help for ail­ments like those Leone picked up. “I def­i­nitely have eye is­sues,” says Leone, who’s 22. “That’s a real thing.” Hey, maybe peo­ple laughed at tennis el­bow once, too.

ATHLETICS Video games re­quire even less phys­i­cal ex­er­tion than curl­ing, but e-sports ath­letes are scor­ing schol­ar­ships.

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