College esports is still very new in the eyes of competitive sport. And most of it is played outside of the bounds of the NCAA. But following up on an event from this May, the group synonymous with college athletics is putting on the Collegiate Esports Invitational. This time the bracket’s all Valorant instead of Fortnite.

The Old Guard In A New Space

Partnering with Gaming Community Network (GNC) and Van Wagner, the NCAA is hoping to get hundreds of players signed up for their $10,000 prize pool. Of that $10k, half will go to the winners and $2,500 goes to the runners-up, with the remainder being split between teams 3rd-8th. The GNC is also making strides to increase visibility, a common issue with new college esports events. In a press release, they said that the GNC will host the stream on over 85+ gaming and esports websites.

But not any college team can join in the festivities. Because this is coming through the NCAA, there are select conferences that can join. The list of eligible collegiate conferences are as follows:

  • America East Conference
  • Big South Conference
  • Big West Conference
  • Colonial Athletic Association
  • Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
  • Southland Conference
  • Sun Belt Conference
  • West Coast Conference
  • Western Athletic Conference
  • Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association

If some of those conferences don’t look familiar to you, it’s not a mistake. The majority of top esports programs are not coming from the same Power 5 divisions you know of like the ACC, Big Ten or SEC. Smaller schools are leading the charge, in particular ones from America’s Midwest and Texas.

So if your school is in one of these conferences and wants to participate head over to the sign-up page now and register. Tournament play beings November 13th and broadcasts on the Collegiate Esports Invitational Twitch channel.

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