University of Mary Washington announced the addition of esports to their athletics roster this past week. The Eagles will be competing against other collegiate teams in various competitive games starting in the Fall 2023 semester.

“At this moment in time, we have an excellent opportunity to introduce a new team sport program that aligns well with University priorities and has high potential to attract and retain students,” said UMW Director of Athletics Patrick Catullo. “We are really drawn to the inclusive nature of esports.”

The inclusion of esports will be the 20th sponsored sport offered at UMW for students, with it taking the spot as third team sport as well. The team will also be co-ed, allowing any enrolled students to apply and try out.

UMW felt there was a growing community at the school for gaming and esports related events, which is why it wants to hear back from those interested at the school.

“There’s a real sense of community around esports … an inclusive nature about it,” said UMW Assistant Athletic Director Caitlin Moore. “Esports is not going away, it will only grow.”

Moore has played a critical role in the creation and development of the newly established esports program at UMW. Even in the early stages, she’s found plenty of support from within the school.

“I’ve been surprised by the number of people coming out of the woodwork to express interest,” Moore said. “It’s an opportunity for students to have an impactful learning experience outside the classroom.”

The new program has also provided a new avenue for students who have been into gaming their whole life to find others who share the same passion.

“Gaming has introduced me to a lot of friends,” said Freshman Christopher Goodwin, who’s been helping establish what the program will compete in and finding others to join.

As of now, UMW is currently looking for a Director of Esports and selecting which competitive games it will focus on.

In other news, University of Tennessee recently held their “Volan” tournament after a two-year hiatus and had over 300 attendees competing in various games, which you can read about here.

Written by: Carter Barnes