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MORE ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS FOR VIDEO GAMERS!

MORE ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS FOR VIDEO GAMERS!

WHERE ARE SPORT LEADERS ON THIS ISSUE?

SILVER SPRING, MD – July 28, 2015 – Less than a year ago, PHIT America shared the news that one American university was planning to add an online sport to its athletic program and that university was committed to giving athletic scholarships to students for video gaming.  That university is Robert Morris University (Chicago, IL) has since awarded athletic scholarships for ‘gamers.’  Now, the University of Pikeville in Kentucky is planning to provide the same financial support for video gamers beginning this fall.CNN TV

A recent CNN story and video provide greater detail on the issue of competitive gaming at the collegiate level. You can click here or on the TV image on the right to see the video.

Will this trend continue?  Kurt Melcher, the associate athletic director of Robert Morris, says that he has spoken with officials at more than 30 colleges and universities about competitive video gaming.

PHIT America believes that this trend of putting video gamers on the same level as other student-athletes who are actively engaged in authentic athletic completion such as soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, football, or softball is totally wrong.  It is time for sports and fitness leaders to stop this trend.

“It’s unacceptable to classify video gaming as an athletic activity,” says Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America.  “It’s disrespectful to the millions of student-athletes who wrestle, swim, ride bikes, play team sports, or run.  Those students are real athletes.  You don’t sweat on the Internet. Awarding athletic scholarships for video gaming is just wrong.”

eSports is not sports.  Sports involves physical activity.  However, when you look at the CNN video segment, one of the co-ed video gamers says that video gaming involves moving. 

“There is a physical aspect to it,” said the Robert Morris University student.  “You have to click quickly.”

“Wow!  Where are we going here?” responds Baugh.

One college leader is vocal about the topic.

“It's not appropriate to give student-athlete billing to a video gamer,” says Dr. Michael V. Carter, president, Campbellsville University (Campbellsville, Kentucky).  “Today's collegiate student-athletes are challenged to excel in both the classroom and in the athletic 'arena' whether it's in the gym, in a stadium, on a field, or around a track.  Video gamers are not student-athletes and to classify them as such is disrespectful to the world of sports.  It also sends the wrong message to future college students about what it takes to compete in sports.”

Where are the other leaders on this issue?  PHIT America can be vocal about this issue, but we need leaders from collegiate sports, athletic directors, sports industry associations, and sports event leaders to get involved to speak out on this issue.  Why?

“eSports is hijacking the sports industry,” proclaims Baugh.  “It is one thing to take a sports scholarship, but this world of digital insanity is also negatively affecting sports participation for average athletes.  In the last five years, youth participation in ten out of the 12 leading sports has declined.  More and more children are inactive.  The amount of time that children are playing video games or using social media is increasing.”

How much?  The response from one of the ‘gamers’ in the CNN story was shocking.

“We train every day from 4:00 to 9:00 pm,” said a student from Robert Morris University.

To that end, PHIT America has produced a national pledge for people to sign which will signify their support of reducing ‘e-time,’ increasing physical activity, and promoting healthy living.

Take The Pledge