The University of California Irvine campus’ esports program has just announced that it will host its first-ever Super Smash Bros. Ultimate scholarship team. Thanks to a gift of $50,000 from Street Media, which is led by CEO and gamer Brian Calle, students who are part of UCI Esports for the 2019-2020 academic year will be offered scholarships. Street Media is the organization behind publications such as Irvine Weekly and LA Weekly.
“The ‘Smash’ community at UCI is one of the biggest and most passionate gaming clubs on campus,” said Mark Deppe, the director of UCI Esports. Deppe added how UCI Esports is fortunate to already have scholarships for League of Legends and Overwatch players as well. “When a donor emerged with a desire to support one of his favorite games, we knew this was something we had to pursue to create more opportunities for the ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ student gaming community.”
Justin Muscat, the president of the TAG Smash Ultimate Club at the university, agreed. He said that the school’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate community has worked hard to grow the competitive scene, as well as push the game into the spotlight. “The university offering scholarships for ‘Smash‘ is a major step forward and validates the work we’ve done,” Muscat believes.
Tryouts for the new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate scholarship team are scheduled to take place this October, and current University of California students are eligible for them. Players who make the team would then be expected to practice 10 to 15 hours on a weekly basis. They must also maintain a CGPA of 2.0.
Until then, the university’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate club team is preparing to duke it out for the national title in the upcoming Shine 2019 tournament. Winners of the tournament will receive a CSL trophy, as well as a share of the $15,000 prize pool.
Amy Chen is an esports journalist and enthusiast who specializes in in-depth interviews and breaking news. A recent University of Toronto and Humber College graduate, she is passionate about building up the Canadian esports industry. Her current favourite games are Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, and she has always had a soft spot for World of Warcraft!