Southern Oregon University adds esports major for fall semester

ASHLAND, Ore. — Southern Oregon University is launching a new minor this fall, esports. Since 2016, esports has been a growing international business and sport.
Over the past four years, the amount of people watching esports and streaming video games on Twitch or Youtube has grown exponentially. Now Southern Oregon University is making it easier for its students to make a career out of playing video games.

“We are priding ourselves on the fact that we could be the first with an actual degree program,” SOU Professor, Jeremy Carlton said.

Coming this fall, Southern Oregon University will allow both an esports team and an academic program, a minor in the field. Esports is now a billion-dollar industry attracting millions of viewers per year since 2016. People make money playing games competitively from Fortnite to Minecraft and beyond.

“We’re more concerned about the logistics and support that students will be able to do for esports altogether,” Carlton said.

Program organizer, Jeremy Carlton said SOU will address everything from soft-skills leadership to event management to digital arts and media. The business professor was surprised SOU supported the idea.

“It’s something that could really pay off in the long run for a lot of people,” SOU Student, Matthew Robitz said.

The business student is excited about the addition. He said esports goes much further than just playing video games.

“Gaming, in general, has changed a lot and it’s getting more competitive and with the size of esports now, its good to get a jump on it,” Robitz said.

Carlton thinks the program could grow exponentially and help put SOU on the map.

“We’re SOU, we’re raiders and we want to be making our mark in a big way,” Carlton said.

Students who are working towards the minor will begin classes in the fall. For more information, Professor Carlton encourages students interested to reach out to him here.

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