Compete’s video team headed to the University of Utah to check out their varsity esports program, which began as a League of Legends fan club that grew into the student-run organization Crimson Gaming, which helped pave the way for the school’s official scholarship program for budding pro gamers. (UPDATE: 5:00 pm- This paragraph has been updated to clarify Crimson Gaming’s beginnings.)
The University of Utah is part of the Pac-12 conference, and according to Robert Kessler, executive director of the school’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering program, the Pac-12 has “been talking about the idea of having a conference-wide league for esports. But it hasn’t been able to get everybody to agree to all the details. So we decided … we might as well jump into this.”
Compete also spoke to Angie Klingsieck, the Executive Director of Crimson Gaming, as well as Crimson Gaming’s Competitive Director Jordan Runyan, about the student-run organization’s growth over the past few years. The school’s devotion to League of Legends caught the attention of Riot Games as well as University of Utah’s administration. According to A.J. Dimick, the director of operations for University of Utah Esports, the “grassroots movement of these students” led to the eventual foundation of the school’s program, which they hope will inspire similar programs at other schools.
This is the latest episode in our new season of Compete videos. Last week’s video profiled the Southern California fighting games scene, and our debut Compete video profiled medical experts who keep esports pros healthy.
Eric Van Allen
Additional Consultation from Editor-In-Chiefs
Event footage and photography courtesy of