In 2015, when I began exploring the potential for an esports program at UCI, Kurt Melcher, the godfather of college esports, from Robert Morris University, was generous enough to speak with me a few times, sharing his wisdom and answering my naive questions. At that time there were only four schools that were offering scholarships. Now, just a few years later, that number has ballooned into the hundreds. In 2017, to pay forward the kindness that Kurt had shown me, we began officially sharing some of our founding documents and data to educate others looking to join in.
Over the years, there has been tremendous interest from colleges and universities from around the world to learn from us. We now speak to several schools per week, hosting group tours, international delegations, providing individual consultations, conducting follow-up calls, and so on.
We now look to scale our efforts so we can more efficiently handle the growing interest. Therefore, I am happy to announce our new Tools for Schools 2.0 product comprised of four different ways schools can learn from our experience as they evaluate the collegiate esports opportunity.
1. Our new Tools for Schools Wiki provides answers to dozens of the most common questions we receive. It is a living document, and we will add more written and video content as time goes on. Let us know what we’re missing and what we can add to help others!
2. If you have follow-up questions after reading the wiki, we will host bi-monthly conference calls for people who need clarification or have some unique questions. These are held every other week on Thursdays at 11am Pacific Time.
Please sign up for a conference call here.
If people sign up, we will have staff available to speak with you.
3. We host the UCI Esports Conference every October which is a gathering of esports researchers, collegiate and high school program directors, and games/esports industry leaders. There will be relevant sessions as well as opportunities to learn from colleagues and build your scholastic and collegiate esports network.
4. Finally, if you really want high-level, personalized consulting from UCI, we can put together a consulting agreement where we set aside hours or days to dive deep into your program planning. This will be a premium service for those with the passion and budget.
I hope that many folks find this information helpful. As you build your esports program, it is my request that you openly share what you have learned with other colleagues and people that follow after you.
Best of luck to you!
Director, UCI Esports