10:18 AM ETAssociated Press FacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprintCOLUMBUS, Ohio -- Aiming to recruit and engage more competitive video gamers, a dozen schools in the Mid-American Conference are creating a stand-alone esports conference to offer structured competition without the extensive rules that govern intercollegiate athletics. That means the teams can enlist not just amateur players but a type prohibited in traditional college sports: competitors who already turned pro or made money from gaming, sometimes as teenagers years before college. "There's boatloads of kids out there that want to do this -- well, they're doing it already," MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. "And so to have some level of organization that provides for regular competitive opportunities that are well-run, on a regular basis, we think will give our schools a leg up in terms of attracting these students to their campuses. "The Big East, Mountain West, Peach Belt and Metro Atlantic Athletic conferences already have esports competitions in at least one game, and there are teams or student clubs of gamers at scores more schools. Editor's PicksNBA 2K League extends online play, announces tournament detailsThe new Esports Collegiate Conference plans to be open to schools outside the MAC and operate separately from it, though some MAC staff will help facilitate it, Steinbrecher said.
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