> JOHNSON C. SMITH UNIVERSITY (JCSU)

ESPORTS AND GAMING TRIFECTA, THE FIRST AT AN HBCU

In February 2019, a mere conversation that I had with a JCSU athletics administrator about the paucity of Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) that possessed structured on campus esports programming became the impetus behind my development of a proposal later that day for an esports and gaming academic program. The proposal gained the immediate approval of several campus administrators. Six months later, fellow JCSU colleague and esports business maven, John Cash and I merged efforts to both launch and institute JCSU’s Esports and Gaming Trifecta, the first at an HBCU. At the time, collegiate esports and gaming programming, whether clubs, varsity teams, or academic programs, was prevalent at PWIs, but nearly non-existent at HBCUs.

Johnson C. Smith University’s Esports and Gaming Trifecta consists of: academic/Certificate programs in Esports and Gaming Management, a state-of-the arts Esports Lab, and a Game Development Club/Esports Club. Our establishment of partnerships and collaborations with global endemic and non-endemic corporations such as: Riot Games, Epic Games, POINT3, and the CEV Collection, a Black-owned premier eyewear company based in Dallas, Texas, among others, was an instrumental component in solidifying the Trifecta’s brand as a premier collegiate esports and gaming dynasty.

Another notable strand of success accomplished by JCSU’s Esports and Gaming Trifecta during its first year of operation was its highly competitive Esports Club, which made history by becoming the first HBCU Esports Club to advance from its inception to League Playoffs six months later. Its long list of victories against many well-known esports clubs and varsity teams across the nation, including, but not limited to: Virginia Tech, the University of New Haven, California State University of Los Angeles, the University of North Carolina – Charlotte, Virginia Commonwealth University, Barton College, and Shenandoah University helped to position its prowess as a formidable force in the collegiate esports and gaming ecosystem.

JCSU’s Esports and Gaming Trifecta has been featured in over 20 local, state, regional, national, and international publications such as: the Washington Post, Esports Observer, ESPN’s Undefeated, HBCU Digest, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Inc Magazine, and EdTech Magazine, among many others, as well as televised segments on NBC and CBS affiliate channels. However, most notably, in collaboration with MetArena, a technology company, JCSU’s Esports and Gaming Trifecta assisted in co-producing the first-ever HBCU Esports Conference and Career Expo to be held in a blockchain ecosystem. JCSU’s Esports and Gaming Trifecta has become widely recognized as a blueprint for HBCU Esports. Together, with industry esport/gaming community leaders, we are working passionately to transform the collegiate esports and gaming ecosystem, one controller at a time.

JOHNSON C. SMITH UNIVERSITY (JCSU)

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