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  • Writer's pictureMadeline Kim

CMU esports is the next frontier

Updated: May 11, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Carnegie Mellon sports to a screeching halt. However, the two presidents for esports at Carnegie Mellon see a new chance for opportunity.

Esports’ legitimacy as a sport has been a topic of controversy. Opponents are quick to point out the difference in physical demands on esports players compared to other sports. However, this argument has been met with gusto. More colleges are offering competitive esports opportunities, and some are even beginning to award scholarships. As the industry continues to expand, so too will its acceptance as a sport.

Co-President of the Carnegie Mellon esports organization, Kevin Shim, defines the sport as one “that focuses on that sort of dexterity in an online setting.” Just as ping pong is not any more or less valid of a sport because it requires a different set of physical demands than football, esports earns its status as a sport regardless of its supposedly sedentary nature. The level of discipline and mechanical skill required is more than sufficient to have it qualify as a sport, and it’s only a matter of time until it is conventionally recognized.

COVID-19 has demanded countless industries and activities to make dramatic changes. However, esports has had an easier time adjusting. The social distancing-friendly nature of esports gives them the opportunity to persevere while other sports have to seriously readjust or halt altogether. Not much changes for players in terms of practicing or competing. “Teams play at home anyways,” Co-President Rachel Cronson told The Tartan. There have never been in-person facilities to practice in, and competitions are traditionally done remotely.

Players are no stranger to thriving under constrained situations. The activity challenges players to make rapid-fire decisions to optimize their outcomes given current limitations. “[The pandemic] has given esports a chance to shine,” Cronson expresses. The teams are ready to face adjustments in their gaming and competing experiences and proudly represent their university.

The organization was preceded by the Online Gaming Society (OGS), which was founded in 2000. Players in the former organization started off casually playing Starcraft II. The organization later adopted more games, including Counterstrike and Super Smash Brothers Melee. The new esports organization has teams for the games Rainbow Six Siege, Overwatch, and League of Legends. Carnegie Mellon proudly climbed its way to the top 4 in the League of Legends Collegiate Championship in 2017, and the team has no plans to stop there.

Updates for Carnegie Mellon esports can be found on their official Facebook page, their page on The Bridge and their Discord chat]. Doors are open for any students interested in playing, and teams are assigned largely on the players’ compatibility.

“Esports are here to stay,” Cronson proudly stated. The teams are looking forward to continuing their work and the university’s legacy. Carnegie Mellon proudly deems itself a groundbreaking leader in many areas; esports is simply the next frontier.


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