University of South Florida Esports Program Keeps Students ‘Connected’

The University of South Florida is much like every other university around the world that has seen many of its varsity, club, and intramural sports programs put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, USF has found a weapon in this fight of inactivity for students, whether they are on campus or not, and that weapon is esports. 

According to The Oracle, USF’s student-run newspaper, since its March launch, the esports scene at USF has flourished as students look for more recreational activities. The USF esports program has added weekly drop-in competitive events while maintaining a Discord and Twitch presence for those that wish to participate or simply watch under the mantra that all levels of gaming experience are welcome.

The esports program at USF runs under the direction of the USF Recreation and Wellness section of the university and has been leveraged across its Sarasota-Manatee, St. Pete, and Tampa campuses. According to the report, esports has been very beneficial in getting its students to “remain engaged and connected” after the launch of the virtual program.

With the popularity of the esports program at USF rising, instead of hosting events two days a week, there are now competitive offerings seven days a week. Using Discord and Twitch as the two main connective operators, the program has been able to bring more students in relationship to the traditional means of just pounding the campus pavement.

And while this has been a boon to both the university and esports program, making sure that those connective outlets are as welcoming as possible is a top priority for everyone involved. The University has hired moderators for both Discord and Twitch in order to monitor and eliminate as much of the toxicity as possible.

The program is looking to run a slew of tournaments with FIFA and Madden being two of the primary targets. Competitions in titles such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty are also planned.

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