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UNT Esports has been selected as one of the top 12 varsity e-sport programs in the U.S., according to Blizzard Entertainment’s collegiate department known as TESPA. The universities selected were chosen in part, by their commitment and resources dedicated to students competing in collegiate e-sport competitions.
Earlier this summer, TESPA, announced an elite varsity Overwatch tournament that would be reserved exclusively for the best all-around collegiate programs in the country. UNT, like the other 100+ collegiate varsity programs, had to apply for the title and the exclusive tournament, showcasing the programming and resources the university dedicated to their varsity athletes to play in esports for their university.
“Our goal with the Varsity invitational is to highlight the schools that we identified as doing varsity right! We've highlighted teams that we believe to have their student's best interests in mind, thus a lot of our selection process focused on what we saw as the most supportive programs. We believe scholarships, health/student wellness programs, and practice space to be the most important parts of a varsity program," said Patrick Balarius Associate Esports Manager for TESPA and Blizzard Entertainment.
Being recognized by TESPA is recognition of their hard work and dedication to making UNT’s program what it is, and continues to aspire to be.
“Our Esports Players and Leaders on campus have been putting in so many hours of work," said Zane "Clap" Castillo, a student staff member for UNT Esports. "To see their hard work validated has been so amazing. We’re just very excited to represent UNT as a flagship program to highlight the legitimacy of collegiate esports.”
The tangible prize of being selected by TESPA, is an automatic invite to the Overwatch Collegiate Invitational Varsity Series, skipping two single elimination qualifier tournaments to add in four wildcard teams. The main 16 team tournament will start Oct. 13 and will be aired on twitch.tv
On Sept. 12, two days after TESPA’s announcement UNT Esports held its first “Signing Day,” where the athletes of the 2019-2020 season signed for the inaugural esports scholarships offered at UNT.
“It’s very humbling. It’s crazy to get financial assistance for doing what I love. It’s a great start for me here at UNT, and I can’t wait to see where it goes," said Kristian “Qïÿana” Gagni a Mid player for UNT’s League of Legends team.