Being a traditional athletic director, I have been told many times that I should be offended by esports, particularly the use of “sports” in its name. Competitors don’t jump (unless out of their seats), run, or use a ball. Certainly, all of that should be an affront to my natural proclivity toward the more traditional physically-taxing competitions like football, soccer, or lacrosse.

But esports offers nearly all the same rewarding traits – engagement, commitment, teamwork, leadership opportunities, dedication, sportsmanship – as traditional athletics.

Related content: What you need to start an esports program

At the college where I work – SUNY Canton – esports has been incredibly successful. In addition to great participation, we’ve diversified our student activities while supporting academic programs typically populated by esports students, such as game design, graphic and multimedia design, engineering, and esports management.

About the Author:

Randy is the director of athletics at SUNY Canton and has been employed with SUNY Canton since 2005. Randy has overseen the dramatic growth of the athletics department from nine sports to 15 and from 126 student-athletes to nearly 300. He has also been instrumental in leading the college’s efforts to add varsity esports to the athletic department, growing the program from three teams to eight teams and more than 100 students. Prior to joining SUNY, Randy served as a vice president for the Florida Panthers in the NHL. Randy is a graduate of St. Lawrence University.


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