Stephens College has joined the ranks of the growing number of American colleges that offer scholarships for varsity eSports, but unlike the other schools on that list, Stephens College is attended exclusively by women.
According to ESPN, the Missouri-based institution now counts eSports, specifically Overwatch, among its nine athletics programs and is offering partial scholarships for players that join its team. With this, Stephens College becomes the first all-women’s college to offer scholarships for varsity eSports.
"Our mission is to ensure that women can succeed and can make choices about anything they do in any environment and in any profession," Stephens College president Dianne Lynch told ESPN. "That's our mission. So why would we not do it in eSports?”
The college plans to assemble a 12-person team, which includes a starting lineup and bench of six Overwatch players each, to compete in the Tespa Collegiate Series this coming fall.
Additionally, this makes Stephens College the 31st college to join the National Association of Collegiate eSports, which ESPN notes makes up 95 percent of the current varsity eSports teams nationally.