Nearly 200 colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada are actively recruiting for esports scholarships. But unlike other sports, there is currently no real infrastructure for high school esports.
PlayVS, a Science-backed startup out of Los Angeles, is looking to change that.
Founded by Delane Parnell, PlayVS has signed an exclusive contract with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to provide support in building the infrastructure for high school esports, allowing students to play esports on behalf of their school all the way to the state championship level.
Most of us have participated in high school sports in some way, but many of us aren’t aware of all the moving parts going on behind the scenes. The NFHS, essentially the NCAA of high school sports and activities, handles those moving parts for more than 90 percent of schools in the U.S. across almost every sport.
From writing the rules to referees to building out the districts and conferences to organizing the state playoff tournaments, the NFHS has almost 100 years of experience across hundreds of sports and activities handling organization.
But esports represents a new challenge for the governing body, requiring more technical infrastructure than established sports.
That’s where PlayVS comes in. The company has built a website that handles league organization, scheduling, leaderboards and more. Plus, PlayVS has existing relationships with the game publishers, letting the platform pull stats in real-time from each high school match.
There will be two seasons each year, with students organizing their own teams at their school for a variety of games. High school teams go to the PlayVS website to see their schedule and log on for their game (which is played on the publisher client).
Eight season matches will be played online, with the top teams competing in a LAN tournament in front of a live spectator audience organized by PlayVS.
PlayVS is also partnering with NFHS Network, a live-streaming platform for high school sports, to broadcast some of the games to spectators.
As it stands now, colleges and esports organizations have to rely on relationships with publishers and tournament results to get a clear view of the top young talent. But there are surely many players slipping through the cracks.
With the new high school esports league powered by PlayVS, colleges and esports orgs will be able to use the PlayVS platform to see real-time stats and player profiles. Plus, the PlayVS site allows coaches and recruiters to request an introduction to the student’s parents and/or coach to start talking scholarships.
To start, the high school esports leagues will be PC-only games in three genres: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, Fighting and Sports games.
The first season will start in the fall.