Video gaming becomes sports team on Kent campus


The newest Kent State student organization’s logo.

Hannah Kelley

After months of preparation, Kent State has made its first eSports and Gaming Club official.

On Saturday Sept. 22, the club finalized its first varsity teams lists and released their official jerseys and logo.

“I’ve been nothing but excited to see the first logo and jerseys because it kind of officializes us,” said Cody Minnick, the captain of Varsity Rocket League Team and Lab Manager for eSports. “No, we’re not like a physical sports team. It’s more of a mental, strategic reactionary type of game-play, but we still really want people to cheer us on.”

The eSports and Gaming Club offers both varsity and club level groups for eSports games including Overwatch, League of Legends, Hearthstone and Rocket League.

The club is also flexible and welcoming of any new eSports or games that students have a desire to play.

“We’re willing to have as many games as the fan-base will support,” said Jesse Wray, the president of eSports and Gaming Club. “If you want gaming to be a part of your life, we’re open to anybody and any game.”

The club welcomes players from any of Kent’s eight locations.

Wray, along with the Director of eSports Steven Toepfer and Project Director of Kent State System Integration Tim Pagliari, created the program last semester.

The club kicked off with an event in the M.A.C. Center on May 5. The public event invited already established video-gaming groups on campus, including Kent State’s Overwatch Association and KSU Videogames Club.

Since the event, the team now has 4 competing varsity teams and approximately 60-70 active Kent State gamers.

Potential players can still go on the Kent State eSports Discord app to find a team.

Like any other team, students must try out. Varsity club members receive scholarships.

“The first thing I look at is someone’s ability to cooperate,” Minnick said about picking his team. “The second thing I look at is skill level. I can teach somebody how to play the game. I can’t teach them how to be a good person.”

The Kent State team also wants to be the first of the clubs to support a “healthy lifestyle.” This may include a weekly workout plan for members in the future.

“We’re aware of the stereotype that gaming is sedentary and not physical,” Wray said. “We want to make sure that many students have appropriate access to stress programs. Want to tailor a healthier image.”

Fans can also buy merchandise of eSports mouse pads, compression sleeves, flags, sweatshirts and t-shirts all available at

The matches can be streamed online weekly at

Hannah Kelley is a Dean of Student Affairs and Greek Life reporter. Contact her at [email protected].