Intercollegiate Esports Competition
Our Intercollegiate Competition Program is focused on developing teams and individuals for direct competition in various events, leagues, and tournaments. While the lack of governance from known entities is currently limited, every school at this moment is developing their own standards for eligibility referencing their own best practices, governance they are familiar to, and the rulesets of the competitions they are entering into. We are trying our best to standardize all requirements across the board with room for exceptions when they logically come up.
In late Fall 2018, the Esports Association at the University of Oklahoma officially obtained Competitive Club status and is officially licensed to use the venerable OU Interlocking Logo for its apparel and branding. The final evolution of this organizational upgrade was renaming it to the OU Esports Club. As of the Fall 2021 semester, we currently offer scholarship opportunities through the university. We will now actively be looking to go grow the amounts year over year until we can take care of 100% of the costs of attending OU. We are also researching scholarships for other parts of our development to achieve our goal of supporting the entire infrastructure of esports and not just competitors.
What is Club versus Varsity Esports? The OU Hot take!
In the collegiate space at this juncture many teams that are competitng are usually in four different classifications. They are:
- Varsity (or Institutionally Supported Level or Athletics): Offer scholarships, funded, strategic alignment with high level administration and/or have some deeper investment over club level. Most Division I / Power 5 universities are housed outside of athletics programs where many (not all) Division II and lower are housed within. This is where we are now sponsored and elevated under Student Affairs as the Department of Esports & Co-Curricular Innovation. (Sept 2020+)
- Club Level (or semi-institutionally supported or Athletics): Depending on the legal compliance and cultural, political landscape of the university determines where this comes into play. Most Division I / Power 5 universities are housed outside of athletics programs where many (not all) Division II and smaller are housed within. These are similar to "Sports Club" organizations that aren't under the development of athletics directly or are sponsored by a department on campus. OU's development was sponosred under IT. (2018-2020)
- Interest-Based Student Org: The most common type of student organization on any collegiate campus. The origins of many of our programs including OU's. (2017-2018)
- Singular Energy: Students just coming together as friends and registering for a tournament as themselves.
All developments we focus on are purely from student interest as the first wave of discovery. When we see students ask for a specific title we empower them to take ownership of the development around that title. This is part of mantra of growing leaders on different fronts. Through the policy and standards of procedures we create at the top level they have to find a primary focus tournament that meets a collegiate-only criteria with a scholarship/award prize pool. If you haven't guessed by now there is no NCAA in our world like in traditional athletics.
That is both a blessing and a curse. Unlike traditional sports, football is considered open-source and thats why the Big 12 and NCAA can develop governance standards that can apply uniformly. In esports, the Intellectually Property owner of a game develops the scope in which tournaments and leagues can be developed with their title. This is the main fundamental difference to the licensing, branding, sponsorships, and business back end of our world versus athletics. Each title is different! It's great in the context that we have an industry that is very young and we can innovate freely because this is the time before the NCAA existed.
In our strategy we empower students to lead the charge and help us explore the possibility of allocating more resources to a specific title development. This builds deeply passionate advocates that are aligned with the business sensibilities of how to make their goals a reality within our program. This also allows us to quickly explore the community around their title as well. It's not simple or easy, but it is doable as they are in charge of developing the policy around expectations for their teams and set the tone for culture as the starting point. Any title where we have students that are passionate about doing the admin work and have a collegiate-only tournament with prize pool will at least get to supported at club level. From that point on and as the scene around it evolves, we apply more energy towards advancement and funding to support incentivized recruitment energy and further support.
*All programs at the club or scholarship level are summer camp enabled for additional funding generation after a year of positive elevation in our program.
Defining "Varsity" Esports at OU
Instead of conventional varsity and junior varsity declaration we deploy “Crimson” and “Black”. Why? Because gaming and esports cultures have never ever had varsity and junior varsity declarations before. While there are many things we’re trying to align with the preexisting business infrastructure of athletics programs, our culture would much rather stay considerate of our history and not force adhering to preexisting definitions. This is who we are.
Official Jersey (Redesign Coming)
Titles We Develop (Club)
- Call of Duty: Cold War (XB/PS/PC) (Since 2020)
- Call of Duty: WarZone (XB/PS/PC) (Since 2020)
- Counterstrike: Global Offensive (PC) (Since 2019)
- Halo Infinite (PC/XB) (Since 2022)
- Madden (PS) (Since 2021)
- Smash Brothers Ultimate (Switch) (Since 2018)
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (PC) (Since 2020)
Titles We Develop w/Scholarships
- League of Legends (PC) (Since 2017)
- Overwatch (PC) (Since 2017)
- Rocket League (Crossplay) (Since 2017)
- Valorant (PC) (Since 2020)
(FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions
Our primary compliance criteria is that each team/title will have a primary focus tournament or league that meets these expectations:
- Collegiate ONLY tournament
- Scholarship prize pool
Teams are welcome to participate in multiple leagues and tournaments as long as they meet the above criteria in tandem with time mangagement availability for academics.
Our intercollegiate esports teams represent OU at the highest level of esports competition. These are the football, baseball, basketball teams of the esports world, facing off against our rivals to battle for pride and prize.
We have a team of staff aboard OU Esports who specialize in the specific titles and management behind intercollegiate competition. Our intercollegiate competition director, Jon “RadPanda” Hudson will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have or direct you to one of our team coaches to get you up to speed on anything you need to know about our competition.
All of our competitive teams have different leagues and tournaments they compete in, many of which operate on different schedules. Most of our teams will hold tryouts at the start of each academic semester, and you can find information regarding teams from our announcement channels in the discord, or from our team coaches.
If a game doesn’t have a competitive team at OU Esports, someone has to step up and be the one to bring that team to life. If there’s a game you’d like to see be a part of the OU Esports arsenal, let us know! The criteria for a competitive team to be formed is that it has a collegiate-only league to compete in, and one that offers a scholarship prize pool.
Imagine a world where traditional athletes didn't start their mentorship and development process until they were in college. Now take the often labeled "keyboard warrior" of what many view younger demographics to be and how they behave online. Within the gaming communities, toxicity does run rampant as well as inside the games during play. No matter if we existed or not younger and younger demographics, with their parents' support even, are playing what would be labeled a violent video game. As adults, parents, mentors, teachers, and educators we have to balance meeting students and youth where they are already with solid mentorship and providing context to the worlds they live in. We're not alone here, K-12 from an administrative standpoint is also heavily developing energies in esports globally.
If you had the blessing of a good coach in your youth that taught you sportsmanship, soft skills, and team based objective oriented goals then you were more than likely better for it in the end. Does this mean we want to support six year olds playing questionable games? Absolutely not, but normalizing gaming as a means to reach teachable moments and improve culture in and outside of the game is an irrefutable opportunity. This is especially true when we provide structure around something that got to this point because of extensive mainstream marginalization for decades now. Esports is not a new topic. It's birth can be referenced back to the late 1970s at Stanford with sponsorship by Rolling Stone Magazine. Be present where they are and support their passions while providing perspective along the way!
Additionally, this is why we also have a philanthropic foundation in our community pillars and members of these rosters are always present paying it back to the areas around us through charity fundraising, or acts of service within the community. On top of all of that, we have a strict zero tolerance for toxicity and aggressive behavior policy throughout every branch of our development.
- Any current FULL-TIME student of OU of any status (Norman campus ONLY)
- Good standing with the university
- Must be a member of OU Gaming Club
- 2.5+ GPA
SCHOLARSHIP SPECIFIC PREREQUISITES
- Being a member of this team is NOT dependent on you being awarded a scholarship
- Stackable with Champion Award ONLY
- Current enabled teams and maximum amounts for inagural 2021-2022 year:
- Crimson League of Legends (PC) (Diamond IV+, up to $2250/yr)
- Crimson Rocket League (Crossplay) (1650+ MMR, up to $1500/yr)
- Crimson Overwatch (PC) (Grandmaster+, up to $2250/yr)
- Crimson Valorant (PC) (Platinum II+, Up to $2250/yr)
Solidus Intercollegiate Esports Student Leadership
Our Intercollegiate Competition Department is an extremely large undertaking, but having motivated leadership at the top making building this athletics department like division much easier. The Intercollegiate Director enforce tournament compliance, facilitate recruitment, manage conflict, and coordinate intercollegiate relations.
Intercollegiate esports competition is a natural development within esports organizations, however we sought out to build an entire professional esports infrastructure of various practicum, performance, and community objectives alike.
Full team rosters, including crimson and black teams, their coaches and captains, and BIOs are hosted on Sooner Esports. Click the logo to the right to go there and check out the full list of students that represent OU in the most formal competition in esports ever in the history of The University of Oklahoma.
Scholarship Level Coaches & Captains
Brandon "Honey Badger" Holdsworth
Analyst, League of Legends
2014 OU Accounting Alumni
Captain, Valorant Black