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High School Association pitches for esports league

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) is joining hands with a startup called PlayVS to bring esports leagues to high schools around the USA starting this fall. The league will not have the popular first-person shooter genre.
The fast-growing phenomenon of esports, which has led to a situation where we have more high-school gamers than athletes, is getting major endorsement from the organisation that sets the rules for high school sports activities of all shapes and forms in the country.
Planning for an inaugural season starting in October, NFHS will rope in state associations, with the objective of launching the league in at least 15 states. PlayVS, on its part, will focus on building relationships with game developers and will manage the infrastructure that will allow players to compete for state championships—which could lead to college scholarships, as in the case of traditional sports.
NFHS Network CEO Mark Koski said PlayVS was chosen because it focuses on the educational and participatory aspects of gaming. “PlayVS’ philosophy on high school-based sports and focus on participation perfectly aligns with the NFHS and its member state associations,” Koski said in a news release.
In comments to Variety, PlayVS CEO Delane Parnell noted that esports “is about more than just playing games. It can be used to help students grow their STEM interests and develop valuable life skills, and since there are more high school gamers than athletes, it’s about time we foster this pastime in an educational setting.”
NFHS said it will be selective about what games are included in the initiative. Although first-person shooter games like Overwatch, Fortnite and Counter-Strike are among the most popular multiplayer games in esports, they will not be part of the programme.
“First-person shooter games we believe do not fit within the education mindset that we are hoping to bring to this activity,” Koski told the gaming news outlet Polygon.
The programme will include 10 officially sanctioned games, including fighting games like Street Fighter V, sports games like the FIFA series, and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games like League of Legends. Each state-based organisation will choose the games will allow students to compete in.
“If a state association says, ‘Hey, we do not want a fighting game!’ or ‘We’re going to stick with a MOBA game or a sports game!’ then that’s up to them. So every state will be slightly different,” Koski said. He added that NFHS will not prohibit states from organising their own shooting-game competitions on the platform.
Source: associationsnow.com

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