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SUNY Opens Esports Play Systemwide

The State University of New York is working with Extreme Networks to launch a systemwide esports league. The goal: to promote "safe competition, connection and camaraderie" among students at SUNY's 64 campuses, while they're being encouraged to physically distance from each other.

Free registration for varsity and club teams is now open for the fall league, which runs for five weeks. A similar eight-week league will run in the spring semester.

The deal with Extreme is a follow-on to a sponsorship arrangement the company had with the university system during the spring, when SUNY ran the "Chancellor's Challenge," with a $10,000 prize commitment by Extreme. This time around, the networking company will serve as the "official networking provider" for SUNY's esports program and arenas.

SUNY is also working with LeagueSpot, which produces an esports gameplay and tournament platform.

Gameplay for this next chapter of SUNY esports will run the following titles:

"SUNY is proud to partner with Extreme Networks to do something that we have never done: launch a systemwide esports league that can bring together students from all 64 campuses," said Chancellor Jim Malatras, in a press release. Malatras took his position in August 2020 after former chancellor Kristina Johnson, who ran the previous challenge, was appointed president of the Ohio State University. That challenge drew 46 colleges and almost 500 student gamers.

"As we navigate the coronavirus era, our students need safe avenues for connecting, building camaraderie with their classmates, and simply enjoying life," Malatras added. "This new league will harness the growing talent and enthusiasm for esports across SUNY to bring people together in a safe and socially distant way. I want to thank SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran and his entire team for their hard work in creating something that will benefit students across SUNY."

Szafran noted that creating the systemwide league was a "logical next step" after the success of the spring challenge. "SUNY Esports will offer the opportunity for all schools throughout the system to compete. Being able to do so despite the COVID-19 pandemic makes it even more rewarding. I applaud the chancellor and SUNY for expanding student opportunities at a time when so many traditional student affairs options have to be limited."

Interested teams can learn more by e-mailing [email protected].

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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