A US university is offering e-sports scholarships for Fortnite players
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Ashland University, in Ohio, USA, is offering potential students scholarships for playing video-game Fortnite. Ashland is the first university to offer gaming scholarships, which could be as much as $4,000, to students who demonstrate a talent for the video-game under an ambitious new e-sports programme. Fornite is a free video game in which players work together to survive on an Earth ravaged by storm and where 98% of the population have disappeared, replaced by zombie-like creatures. Although students playing Fortnite have often been vilified by parents and teachers nationwide, Ashland university has noticed the potential of the game. Indeed, as part of a growing trend, games like Fornite are, according to the execuite director of e-sports at Robert Morris University, "no different than if you have a basketball team of superskilled point guards - minus the physical exertion." Further praising the game, head coach Joash Buchanan noted: "Fortnite facilitates an environment that allows players to get creative, innovate and show off their mastery of their skills." It is because of this potential education benefit that the university is one of 66 universities and colleges across the United States that have membership to the National Association of Collegiate Esports, founded in 2016. In much the same way as varsity footballers are scouted during their time at high school and then given scolarship to universities across the US, this programme offers up to $4,000 to those who can prove they have an appitude for Fortnite. Although for the first year interested students will have to contact the university directly, Buchanan hopes eventually, as more universities follow Ashland's example, collegiate leagues will be set up for Fornite players to impress potential sponsors. However, it is worth noting that, on average, the cost of a years tuition, room and board at the university costs in the region of $30,000. In addition to their scholarship the University is also building a new gaming centre in the lower level of the school library, offering 25 gaming stations for budding 'athletes' complete with specialist chairs, speakers and even mousepads. These facilities will host four-player teams, the maximum number of players the game will allow, who will regularly practice and compete together as part of the AU e-sports team. Image credit - Wikimedia Commons
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