Here comes esports, the latest MVNU Athletics’ addition
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio – Starting in the Fall of 2019, Mount Vernon Nazarene University will become one of five Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) institutions and the only Crossroads League member with a varsity esports program.
Participation in esports, short for electronic sports, has begun to spread across the globe while infiltrating collegiate athletics. According to the Entertainment Software Association, more than 150 million Americans play video games, and MVNU is capitalizing on the opportunity to develop this exciting new esports program that is committed to the education of the whole student athlete, Christ-like character development, and lifelong learning.
Leading the MVNU program will be head coach Justin Nowicki, a 2011 graduate of MVNU and the current Director of Development at the institution.
“I would like to thank Dr. Henry Spaulding II and the senior leadership team for entrusting me with the opportunity to launch esports at MVNU,” said Nowicki. “I am excited to lead a team of young men and women as they grow and develop, not just in their skills as players, but also in their knowledge and relationship with the Lord. We hope to develop a program that will serve as a model for how esports can be an active part of a Christian university.”
NAIA institutions make up over 40 percent of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), and MVNU’s program as a varsity sport in the Fall of 2019 will be active participants in the NAIA Champions of Character initiative in the promotion of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership.
As MVNU looks to fill its esports roster, it plans to compete in two of the more popular games, League of Legends and Overwatch. The team has set the goal to field a roster of around 15 student-athletes in year one, and will also explore opportunities to compete in additional games in the future. Plans for an esports designated space are already underway, and the team will be able to compete with opposing schools from the confines of its own facility.
The addition of esports is one of many anticipated new offerings to come in the years ahead as MVNU looks to grow enrollment through the addition of athletic teams, creating further opportunities for prospective students. Varsity competitive cheerleading, men’s club lacrosse, and men’s and women’s club bowling have already been added for 2018-2019.
“MVNU is excited to blaze a trail as one of the first Christian universities to add an esports program,” said Tracy Waal, MVNU Vice President for Student Life. “This new offering will attract a diverse, rapidly growing population. We are confident that this program, led by Justin (Nowicki), will enhance our Christ-centered mission and build upon our well-established athletic programs.”
Esports will be a scholarship sport at MVNU, providing esports team members the opportunity to attend one of the most affordable four-year, private schools in Ohio. Student-athletes interested in competing in esports at MVNU can fill out a recruit information form, which is permanently stored at mvnucougars.com.
Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several convenient Graduate and Professional Studies locations throughout the state, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,200 students from 32 states and 19 countries/U.S. territories.
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