Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the latest game to be added to the esports scholarship program at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) following League of Legends (LoL) and Esports Health and Wellness awards.
The new $50,000 scholarship was announced on August 7 and will fund the formation of a new Super Smash Ultimate team at UCI. Players on the team members will each receive $6,000 for the 2019 - 2020 academic year after being selected for the team by UCI Esports and the TAG Smash Ultimate Club at UCI. The award comes courtesy of the owners of Street Media, publisher of Irvine Weekly and LA Weekly.
In order to maintain their scholarships, players on the new Smash Ultimate team will need to maintain a 2.0 grade point average, practice 10 to 12 hours per week and follow the UCI Esports code of conduct. Tryouts for the team are scheduled for October 2019.
UCI is no stranger to the esports scene. The school was the first public university to form an esports program in 2016, building an esports arena with 72 PC gaming setups, and creating a League of Legends scholarship program. Last year the UCI LoL team won the National College Championship for that game and represented North America at the LoL International College Cup. It was at the International Cup where they were just barely eliminated in the round robin stage of the tournament with a 2 - 3 record. This year ESPN followed the team as they defended the National Championship. An effort which unfortunately ended when UCI lost in the semifinals to the University of Western Ontario.
UCI Esports is also no stranger to Smash. Earlier this year, in February, two teams of players from UCI competed in the regional qualifiers for the Collegiate Starleague tournament in Super Smash Bros. and advanced to the divisional qualifiers. The Tournament is still ongoing but UCI is ranked tenth in the standings going into the event.
Best of luck to those that make the new team.
In the interest of transparency, the writer of this piece is a UCI alumnus and is bound by social pressure to issue the following statement: Zot!