Trading Sports for Esports

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    • As universities add esports programs, athletic departments are cutting traditional sports.

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Universities are continuing to get on the esports train, even as traditional sports get the axe. Eastern Michigan University has announced a partnership with esports operator Gen. G. to bring competition to the school. 

The new EMU + Gen. G. futures program will highlight the connections between gaming, business and technology while also hosting high school tournaments. Gen G. also has partnerships with Kentucky and the University of Pennsylvania.

The move is the latest in a trend from universities that are adopting esports and video gaming, which is slated to be a $200 billion industry by 2024. 

Traditional sports get axed

While the virtual action heats up, COVID-19 has continued to put a squeeze on athletic departments. Central Michigan University cut its track & field program this week in order to save $600,000 – though it may endanger the school’s NCAA FBS status. Without football – or football crowds – athletic departments will likely continue to shed programs. 

Among those that have been eliminated:

  • Akron: men’s cross country, men’s golf and women’s tennis
  • Bowling Green: baseball
  • Cincinnati: men’s soccer 
  • Furman: baseball and men’s lacrosse programs