Nicholls State University has launched its first competitive Nicholls Esports team, and will compete in a national tournament on Thursday, Jan. 28.
The team will serve as a club sport this Spring with plans to jump to varsity athletics competing in the National Association of Collegiate Esports this year.
Esports, which involves competitive multiplayer online gaming, first found a home on college campuses in 2017 and have since spread all across the country.
The Nicholls Esports will support two teams of five players playing in the Call of Duty League. The two teams will participate in the College Call of Duty League. Layton said the teams will eventually compete in other games, such as Super Smash Brothers, League of Legends, Rocket League, Counterstrike and Fortnite. The teams will compete in online tournaments and in-person competitions when it is safe to do so.
“Students will be able to hone their gaming skills and explore the very real possibility of professional gaming,” said Elizabeth Layton, who serves as faculty advisor and coach. “This is a very new concept and in some ways, we are inventing the wheel like everyone else. It’s important to listen to what the students want when it comes to programming, and the students have been very clear that they not only want to participate but also cheer for an esports team.”
Layton and Sabrina Laurent, who retired as the director of the rec center in December 2020, first approached Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune with the idea in 2019.
“Nicholls Esports aligns perfectly with the University’s mission,” Dr. Clune said. “This is another way that we can provide our students with a dynamic and creative opportunity to learn and make connections within a community of their peers. Esports will help teach our students about leadership, patience, integrity and to strive for excellence both as an individual and a team.”
Layton said the team will provide an avenue to educate the campus community about the gaming world. The team will host guest speakers and panels to debunk gaming myths and discuss the benefits of video games. Additionally, Layton said they use the team to conduct academic research about how gaming can be applied to wellness, educational and social theories.
“The entire college experience is not only to educate them with the core information to continue with their careers, but also the soft skills necessary for them to build lasting relationships, become better leaders, and overall more critical thinkers as citizens,” Layton said. “By participating in Nicholls Esports, whether it is through gaming or collaboration via other means, we’re providing the students with a safe place to follow their interests while integrating these life-long lessons.”
Tryouts for the team are actively taking place. If you are interested in joining the team you can submit a video clip of your gameplay highlights to Layton at email@example.com.
“We are looking for, first and foremost, a good team player,” Layton said. “We need people who can communicate, and also have the same love and passion for the game. If we have that, then the wins will follow.”
The two teams will participate in the College Call of Duty League Kickoff Tournament against more than 100 other teams on Thursday, and in additional tournaments throughout the spring season. You can watch the team play on their Twitch channel at https://www.twitch.tv/collegecod.
Team members must meet academic guidelines set by the university and Call of Duty League.
For more information, contact Layton at 448-4661 or firstname.lastname@example.org.