JWCC to start esports program in fall

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 19, 2020 12:01 am Updated: Feb. 19, 2020 11:20 pm

QUINCY -- The esports era has officially arrived at John Wood Community College.

The school's board of trustees unanimously approved the National Junior College Athletic Association-sponsored program to JWCC's athletic lineup at Wednesday night's board of trustees meeting.

JWCC's esports team will begin intercollegiate competition in the fall. The NJCAA sponsors both fall and spring seasons.

The National Association of Collegiate Esports reports there are 175 schools now fielding teams, a number that has steadily grown since 2009.

"We've been talking about this for two years," said JWCC President Mike Elbe, who thinks the program will generate additional interest and enrollment for the school. "We're trying to be creative and innovative."

JWCC's 18-player squad will be made up of both men and women. Scholarship opportunities will be available.

"This is an exciting opportunity to offer a program that is growing (across the nation) and expand our co-curricular offerings for prospective and current students," Elbe said.

JWCC's esports team will compete in Overwatch, FIFA 20, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Rocket League and Madden NFL.

More details will be revealed in the coming weeks, school officials say. Elbe said the first order will be to name a coach so recruiting can begin and the necessary areas of the school be converted to support practice and competition needs.

Tracy Orne, dean of students and enrollment management, said that esports athletes will be subject to guidelines similar to those that govern other JWCC athletic programs.

In other board-related news:

º JWCC's spring credit-hour enrollment is up 1.2% (220 credit hours) from a year ago at this time.

º A bid of $49,148 --plus an addendum amount of $7,191 -- was accepted from LiveSpace to install an auditorium sound system. The bid was partially funded by a grant from the Marion Hardner Jackson Trust.

º The 7 p.m. March 18 board meeting will be at the JWCC Workforce Center Development Center, 4220 Koch's Lane.