IHSA eyes competitive gaming

Video games may soon join scholastic bowl, football, and bass fishing.

By Benjamin Yount
Illinois News Network

SPRINGFIELD — The organization that manages everything from football and volleyball to bass fishing and scholastic bowl at Illinois’ high schools could soon add video games to its list.

A number of Illinois high schools already have e-sports teams. Those are teams that play video games competitively. E-sports across the globe was worth $1.5 billion last year.

Craig Anderson with the Illinois High School Association, which oversees high school sports and activities in Illinois, said e-sports are becoming very popular, almost popular enough to see a high school season.




“I think we have more than the number of schools that have identified on a list,” Anderson said. “But, to date, we think we have about 25 schools that have indicated to us that they have a team that is competing.”

It will take time for e-sports to become an official IHSA activity.

Anderson said IHSA recently hosted its first lacrosse state championship after years of exploring the sport.

Although some people may not consider video games a sport, Anderson said there’s always value in teamwork and giving young people a sense of pride in anything they do.

“Some people would argue that gaming, and just sitting at a computer lab or a monitor is not healthy,” Anderson said. “But I think that it’s competition. And there’s a benefit to competition, even at that level.”




Anderson said the IHSA is exploring e-sports as an activity. Member schools would have to push to make it official, then the organization would vote on a season, rules, teams and the like.
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