This year was a big one for collegiate esports, with multiple universities introducing scholarship programs for the next generation of pro gamers. But the teams competing in the biggest collegiate esports competition out there may not need them: This year’s season will feature over $500,000 in scholarships as prizes.
Riot Games announced the North American Collegiate Championship (NACC), their annual League of Legends, will return for a third season with an expanded format that will feature a regular league similar to the League Championship Series (LCS).
Last year over 1,600 teams from 300 schools competed in the Championship This year’s version will probably feature a similar number of competitors. But this time Riot Games will cull that huge list of competitors into the eight best teams from each of four regions.
The goal is to create a collegiate experience where fans can better follow their favorite teams. When your alma mater is drowning in a 1,600 team bracket, it’s tough to get excited about their prospects unless they make the late rounds of the tournament. But with a Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Conference featuring weekly bouts between the 32 top schools, the NACC will better mimic the excitement of college sports.
After a seven week regular season, which will start in January and run through February, the top four teams in each conference will battle in a conference championship. The victors will then meet in April at the NACC Final.
All 32 teams who qualify for the regular season will take scholarship money to cover their education. Even teams placing in the bottom half of the standings will earn $1,000 per player. The top collegiate squad will earn $30,000 each. The grand total sits at $540,000 in scholarship money for the entire NACC.
Registration begins on Oct. 5 and is open to student of U.S. or Canadian schools, 17 years of age or older, who are in both good academic standing and have a League of Legends in good standing eligible for ranked play.