'New Frontier, New Athlete'

'New Frontier, New Athlete'

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Nebraska Stories explores how Midland University is changing the landscape of one of the fastest growing competitive collegiate sports. Discover the eSports revolution in NET’s “New Frontier, New Athlete” streaming here.

With the introduction of their new eSports collegiate athletic program, Midland gamers who play competitive team sports onscreen can compete at a varsity-level and even attend Midland on an eSports scholarship.

“People were like, wait ... that’s a thing?” says Ben Nabity, Head Coach of Midland eSports. “Growing up videogames were [perceived to be] a waste of time, and honestly, it’s not anymore.” 

The gaming community had been at Midland long before the athletic department approved the eSports program. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t skeptics. “Yeah, you had some - and I would say a minority of - people who really questioned and were very skeptical of how this could even be put in the same vein as basketball, football, or anything like that. But we're just giving these kids [eSports athletes] that same opportunity [as traditional athletes],” says Dave Gillespie, Director of Athletics at Midland University. 

Midland University was one of the first five colleges in the nation to offer scholarships for eSports and is currently the only officially sanctioned eSports team in the state. 

“The goal was to build a community,” remembers Nabity. And with the help of team leader Joey Evans, that’s exactly what they did. From players to fans, the interest was clear and the impact made waves through the eSports community. 

“To make it a varsity sports, to put it on that same level, to give it the same attention, the same resources as you do your mainstream sports, I think it huge for the eSports community and certainly for the eSports kids here at Midland,” says Gillespie. 

Learn how Midland University is leading the eSports revolution and serving a new kind of athlete. Stream “New Frontier, New Athlete” on NET’s Nebraska Stories at here.