Riot Games League of Legends' event.
Stoyan Todorov  |  Mon 20th May   | Esports
  • NCAA refuses to govern esports
  • Riot Games reveals a new body to govern collegiate esports
  • Esports popularity on the college level growing

After the NCAA refusal to create a governing body for esports, League of Legends developer Riot Games have stepped up their game.The company has announced a new entity to oversee competitive LoL on the collegiate level .

Riot Games to Govern Collegiate Esports via New Body

Following a refusal from the NCAA Board of Governors (BOG) to create an overseeing collegiate body for esports, game developer Riot Games has decided to create its own structure to the same end. The refusal to have the NCAA govern esports is not necessarily a bad thing.

While this means that publishers would need to step up and do the hard work themselves, it also means that the needs of competitors will be met and the events will be organized to reflect the expectations of fans and participants.

Riot doesn’t plan to involve other entities in the management of the newly-established body.

Instead, the company will focus on establishing an individual structure which will separate collegiate esports, and specifically its flagship product, League of Legends, from all other competitive structures that are currently supported by Riot.

This includes the North American and European League of Legends franchised competitions.

Building a Sustainable Future for College Esports

With the industry in an upswing and the spate of universities joining esports, Riot will be facing new challenges as will be other publishers whose products are played on a collegiate level. The Esports Observer published a piece on Friday, outlining the goals of the new governing body:

A mature college esports scene will require buy-in from schools, their campus constituencies and conferences and coordination across bureaucracies. The new governing body will be charged with navigating those relationships.

Riot has been one of the longest-standing supportеrs of esports on the collegiate level. The company has revealed plans to back esports in universities while keeping them separate from its mainstream competitive formats.

Across the United States, esports scholarships are slowly becoming a reality. Full Sail University, a private for-profit university in Ohio, has revealed “The Fortress”. This is a fully decked-out esports arena that also boasts to be the largest on-campus facility for college esports.

Esports Still Not Sporty Enough

The debate against esports not being “sporty enough” and therefore not within the remit of official sports bodies is old. While equating the activities is indeed an exercise in futility, the fact is esports players who want to develop careers could use the help of central governing bodies when it comes to obtaining visas and even funding.

NCAA BOG’s vote on April 30 ended up as a tie amid concerns that esports weren’t athletic disciplines. Still, collegiate esports are not without a guide with The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) stepping up. NACE already has over 130 participating schools and over 3,000 student-athletes.

Riot’s decision to take a closer look at esports in college and ensure their development is an important stepping-stone for the industry. Other publishers & developers, such as Valve and Blizzard, would be most welcome into the fold. Blizzard used to run college-focused championships in Heroes of the Storm (HotS) before the company pulled the competitive plug on HotS in December, 2018.

Stoyan Todorov