UND forming competitive esports leagues for student gaming

New University program now filling rosters with student gamers

A new collegiate esports program will provide students with a collaborative, competitive and educational experience through gaming during their time at UND. Photo by Mike Hess/UND Today.

The University of North Dakota is again doing its part to ramp up academic and competitive esports opportunities for student gamers.

Matthew King, the University’s recently hired esports coordinator, has launched a submission form for students to express interest in the upcoming academic semester of esports activities, which include three separate rosters and support roles for each competitive game.

Matt King

Matthew King

King comes to UND with experience in creating esports ecosystems at other institutions and supporting varsity programs. Combined with his tenure as a manager and coach for a semi-professional League of Legends team, King plans to collaborate with students, faculty and staff at UND to create a robust, diverse and competitive gaming scene in North Dakota.

As of now, UND’s confirmed games include League of Legends and Rocket League, though King expects the list to grow as students fill out the recently published varsity esports interest submission form. There, students can express interest in different games, as well as how they would like to be involved.

“We want to keep it open to other possible rosters after gauging student interest,” King said. “Each roster will have players and support positions filled by students, and we also have technical roles that fit into an overall support structure.”

In his role, King will work closely with a UND esports steering committee, which represents multiple entities on campus, to guide overall planning for esports activities. Cindy Juntunen, dean of the College of Education & Human Development, is providing administrative oversight for these efforts.

The new  esports program will provide students with a collaborative, competitive and educational experience through gaming during their time at UND. Though the rosters submitted for league play need to be limited in number, any and all students who want to participate are encouraged to do so.

UND’s plan for separate rosters creates a space where players can get involved whether they’re just starting out and learning to play the game, or hope to compete in regular seasonal leagues under the UND banner.

To be considered for league rosters, students will need to submit interest before October.

Currently, each game has its own selection of possible intercollegiate leagues, said King, but considerations are being made toward creating a regional conference over the summer months.

Interested students can get involved in esports at UND by filling out the submission form.