TIFFIN, OH (WTOL) - Almost everything at modern universities has gone digital, but Tiffin University is planning to go one step further by redefining what it means to be a student-athlete.
Next fall, Tiffin University will introduce a brand new sport - video games.
"Trust me I know it's an out of the box way of thinking about a sport, but it is what today's college student wants an opportunity to do. You know, we have to listen to our students," said Lillian Schumacher, Tiffin University President.
But the idea of professional gaming is far from crazy. In fact, it's huge in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. We just don't see it often at universities.
"You look at what is a sport, right? Why do colleges have these things? It has a lot of commonalities to what's occurring in eSports right now," said Steven Borawski, eSports coordinator Tiffin.
That is teamwork, communication, leadership - all things that universities try to pull out of students to prepare them for the real world.
"I mean, what do you want as an employee? You want someone who can work on a team, you want somebody that can communicate both verbally and written in a manner that is professional," said eSports coordinator Tiffin.
And throwing something under the banner of athletics isn't just for show.
"By bringing this into the athletic department, first of all that was something that we had both agreed had to happen, because we want to make sure these students are held to the exact same standards that any other athlete on campus is held to," said Dr. Michael Kidd,
These standards, like upholding a certain GPA, benefit both the students and the universities.
The university will also be adding new training facilities and new scholarship funds for the sport.