James Madison University has become the newest member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference eSports division. The Dukes made this announcement last week, alongside speaking on their plans for their newly formed program.

The JMU X-Labs eSports program is the school’s newest addition to their X-Labs ecosystem. This program aims to cultivate an innovative and creative community within technology at the school by offering a multitude of courses and avenues for pursuing these careers. JMU X-Labs brought together the school’s two student run organizations that comprised of competitive players, alumni and industry partners who are passionate about eSports.

“JMU X-Labs is excited to join the ECAC and the competitive opportunities now available to our emerging esports program,” said JMU X-Labs Executive Director Nick Swayne. “We are excited for our students to have access to challenging tournaments and competitive league play. For both virtual and face-to-face competition, ECAC offers exactly what we need to transition into the best of esports.”

JMU X-Labs wants to ensure that their players are being treated well, with establishing an inclusive and diverse community that will become a powerhouse in the collegiate eSports industry.

“They’re gaining skills like communication and teamwork,” said X-Labs Assistant Director Karris Atkins. “We’re showing them how to apply those skills in their industries.”

James Madison University Thinking Towards the Future

JMU X-Labs will also be hosting “industry-related professional development” workshops throughout February for their students and staff. Focusing on topics like student communication, interviewing and networking skills. As well as offering additional workshops on nutrition, mental health, physical health, and time management to help improve students’ well-being.

To kick off the school’s partnership with ECAC, JMU X-Labs will also be livestreaming their JMU Giving Day 2022 event, which will feature players from the teams playing games with JMU Athletics team members, faculty, staff and administrators.

ECAC recently announced the in person return of HV Gamer Con this year, which you can read more about here.

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Written by Carter Barnes