Esports sanctioned as an official high school activity in Utah

Apr 3, 2024, 5:00 AM | Updated: Apr 17, 2024, 9:21 am

FILE: Members of the esports team at Provo High work on computers they built themselves. Utah is no...

FILE: Members of the esports team at Provo High work on computers they built themselves. Utah is now one of nearly two dozen states to have esports sanctioned as an official high school activity. (Provo High School Esports Team)

(Provo High School Esports Team)

Tune in to Dave & Dujanovic

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is now one of nearly two dozen states to have esports sanctioned as an official high school activity. 

Esports, or electronic sports, have gained popularity over the last few years. It now meets the threshold to become one of the Utah High School Activities Association‘s sanctioned high school activities.

Utah High School Activities Association Assistant Director Jan Whittaker said esports will give kids another opportunity to be involved in school events. She said not everyone is interested in traditional sports, band, or other activities the school offers.

“There’s a big group of students who, now, they’ll have a way to really be connected more with their school,” Whittaker said. “Be part of their school culture and really represent their school.”

Another factor for consideration is that U.S. colleges and universities offer millions of dollars in financial aid each year for esports. Whittaker said the University of Utah offered full-ride scholarships to some gaming students last year.

“There’s that opportunity for scholarships,” Whittaker said, “Universities are now having degrees in gaming, so it just continues to grow.”

Whittaker said a committee will determine which gaming system will be used for competitions. It will also determine which games students will play.

There are 156 member high schools in the Utah High School Activities Association. Their esports-sanctioned competitions will be organized by the beginning of the 2025-26 school year. Their inaugural season will run from January to April.

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Esports sanctioned as an official high school activity in Utah