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.