As WVU continues to grow as a national leader in the collegiate esports scene, Chris Scroggins is taking on the role of director of the esports academic program while also serving as a service assistant professor in the College of Applied Human Sciences.
“One of the most exciting things about it is that WVU is one of the first major R1 institutions to go all in on esports,” Scroggins said. “It’s exciting that we’re offering esports at an institution of this caliber. This is the flagship school of this state, and it’s spectacular that we’re willing to invest in it and really be a trailblazer at this level.
“No matter where they might go with it, our students are going to be able to learn pertinent skills through the program that we build and learn through their passion, which is very important.”
Scroggins comes to WVU from Shenandoah University where he had been an esports instructor since 2019. He also has been working with EDGE Consulting, a company he co-founded to assist organizations looking to grow in the esports scene. That experience in helping people develop and grow their brands is something Scroggins believes will be a major benefit in his new role at WVU.
The esports management minor is available starting this spring and features courses like esports governance, esports marketing and esports business. That program will eventually be developed into a major, allowing students to pursue their degrees and go on to work within the ever-growing esports market that has become a billion-dollar global industry.
“We’re in a unique place here where WVU is truly doing something that’s innovative in an already innovative field,” Scroggins said. “That might be a challenge when it comes to coordinating with all of the different colleges here that we’re working with, but it’s mostly very exciting because everyone understands that collaboration is key to success. It’s going to add a ton of value and make it great to work with everyone and see where we go from here in the future.”
The University’s varsity competitive esports team has already emerged as one of the best teams in the country competing in “Call of Duty,” “Madden,” “Rocket League” and “Valorant.”
Sophomore Noah Johnson won the LevelNext Madden National Championship in 2021, the Rocket League team was the national runner-up in the 2022 CCA Summer Series and the Mountaineers also won the Mid-Atlantic regional title at the Red Bull Campus Clutch in October.
Scroggins said the ability to offer students studying esports at the University opportunities to work behind the scenes with a competitive program as strong as the one at WVU has become under Esports Director Josh Steger will be a major selling point in attracting people to be a part of the academic program.
“What we’ve been able to do already on the competitive side, with Josh leading the way, really is pretty unprecedented for such a young program. We absolutely will be leveraging that and showing people that we’re trying to build something similar on the academic side,” Scroggins said.
“Pairing the academic side with the competitive team will put WVU in a position that no one else is really in right now. That’s a huge selling point. As our students are coming through the program and learning things like event management, casting, and everything else our program will have in it, they’ll get to work with these top esports athletes. That can really combine to create an environment here that is special,” he added.
Story originally published by WVU eNews on January 4, 2023.