LINDSBORG – Bethany College Department of Athletics announced it is launching a new varsity Esports program set to begin in Fall 2021. Bethany College will be commencing a national search in the coming weeks to find the program’s first head coach. The team will practice and compete in a state of the art lab in the Mingenback Art Center. The lab will feature 16 gaming stations with i9 processors, as well as new below table lighting. The gaming stations will include keyboards, mouse and pad, gaming chair, and headsets. Scholarships for the program will be available beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year.
As members of the co-ed Esports team, students will be held to the same academic and athletic standards as every student-athlete at Bethany College. The specific games that the Esports team will be competing in has yet to be determined, that will be decided in the coming weeks as the school moves forward with a head coach.
“In meetings with numerous industry experts they indicated that Esports is one of the fastest growing sports nationally at the collegiate level,” said Bethany College Dean of Athletics Laura Moreno. “We have learned that Esports students are extremely competitive, hard workers, valuable team members and look forward to them adding an exciting new dynamic to our campus.”
“We are really excited to start a new venture in Esports at Bethany College. Many of our current and future students have expressed an interest in this area, and we are delighted to be able to provide that. The program startup funding is being provided by a Bethany College Presidential Strategic Planning Grant. This venture is a collaboration between our academic and athletic areas which should allow for a more robust experience for our students,” said Bethany College Interim President Dr. Elizabeth Mauch.
The announcement of the new Esports program coincides with Bethany College’s commitment to technology with the creation of a new Computer Aided Design program beginning in spring 2021. Professor Ed Pogue, Chair of the Department of Art and Digital Media, along with Professor Duke Rogers, Chair of the Business Department, are developing the curriculum for a possible Esports Management Degree to coincide with the new Esports program.
Bethany College will become the fifth KCAC institution to sponsor Esports as a varsity program joining Kansas Wesleyan University, McPherson College, Ottawa University, and University of Saint Mary.