“One of the things that was on their campus is the game hut,” Miller said. “The LoL (League of Legends) team practices there and I was like, ‘Wow, this is a cool experience, I wish we had one of these when I was there.’

“They started talking about their team and I started asking questions and they were like, ‘Oh yeah, our players are on our scholarship.’ I went, ‘Wait a minute, you’re giving scholarships for esports?’ Once they said that, I thought we have to do something.”

Columbia College is one of at least 175 colleges and universities that offer esports teams, according to Next College Student Athlete (getrecruited.ncsasports.org). Some local and area colleges that offer esports include Maryville, Fontbonne, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Missouri Baptist, Principia, Illinois College, University of Missouri, Central Missouri and Stephens.

Since Miller started the club two years ago at Francis Howell Central, it has grown to more than 80 participants that play eight different games. Three of the more popular games the Spartans play are Overwatch, League of Legends and Rocket League.

Howell Central also offers Super Smash Brothers, Fortnite, Rainbox Six Seige, Counter-Strike Global Offensive and Hearthstone.

“As I build a staff of people, I’d love to be able to do any game that the kids want to play,” Miller said.

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