FRANKENMUTH, Mich. (AP) -- Game on?
Michigan high schools are talking about multiplayer video games as a new varsity sport.
MLive.com reports that esports were brought up at the recent annual meeting of the Michigan High School Athletic Association in Frankenmuth. At least 64 schools must sponsor the activity before the MHSAA will consider adding it.
"We're a long way away, but it merits more discussion and more feedback from our schools," said Mark Uyl, the MHSAA executive director.
Uyl said he was hesitant at first about considering esports, but the idea is growing on him.
"You start to see all the kids that are doing it, and all the people who are getting involved," he said. "The growth is incredible. You look at Western Michigan. They turned an auditorium into an esports arena. Adrian College has men's and women's esports teams."
Uyl says officials don't want to encourage kids to become sedentary by playing video games. But he said there are benefits to adding the new sport, especially if it attracts students who don't participate in traditional sports.
Uyl said high schools that sponsor video-game competitions could limit games to non-violent, team-based ones.
"And there are minimal costs for schools," he said. "There are vendors ready to supply the hardware and the software. There's no need for travel because competition is virtual. And it is popular. Madison Square Garden drew 20,000 spectators for an esports competition. That's 20,000 people paying to watch other people play video games."
The association is also considering adding girls wrestling and boys volleyball, Uyl said.