Mid-American Conference schools have created a new conference for competitive esports called the Esports Collegiate Conference, the conference announced Wednesday. It will begin in the 2020-21 academic year.
The Esports Collegiate Conference will be separate to the MAC and operate by itself but will have the support of the MAC. Other conferences to have esports competitions include the Big East, Mountain West and Metro Atlantic.
The Esports Collegiate Conference will include all 12 schools in the MAC. This includes Ohio University, Kent State, Akron, Ball State, Buffalo, Toledo, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan and Miami.
The conference will have its own structure and a different set of rules to govern the conference. In addition, the game's publishers will also have power in setting the competition rules, according to the director of the varsity esports program at Miami University in Ohio.
Players who have earned prize money or turned professional prior to collegiate esports will be eligible to play.
The conference is set to have minimal requirements and not be over-regulated. The amount per team, financial aid and coaches are to be decided and set by the schools themselves, MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in a news release.
“The creation of Esports Collegiate represents the foresight of our presidents to establish a stand-alone competitive framework for collegiate esports competitors and enthusiasts,” Steinbrecher said.