Students travel to Butler from across North America for esports championship

INDIANAPOLIS — The NACE Starleague Grand Finals brought hundreds of people to Butler University’s Esports Park this weekend. The event essentially serves as the collegiate national championships for esports.

The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) is a nonprofit membership association and is the largest association of college esports in North America.

The tournament lasted for two days and included students from schools all around North America.

On Saturday, gamers competed in League of Legends, Overwatch 2, Rocket League and Super Smash Bros. Call of Duty Modern Warfare II, CS:GO and Rainbow Six Siege were on Sunday’s line up.

The tournament follows a “March Madness” style of bracket. The season begins with a regular season bracket. Then, there is a conference system that includes semifinal and final rounds.

The playoffs come next in which gamers participate in a 16-team single elimination bracket. Each school competing has a team of five gamers.

Matthew Bussell is a fourth-year student at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in New York. He was among the gamers who competed in the tournament.

Bussell flew out to Indiana on Friday in hopes of winning the CS:GO competition with the rest of his RIT team. He has been playing the game since 2015 and joined the RIT esports team when he was a freshman.

“It’s just like a traditional sports team,” Bussell said. “We practice all the time. It’s a grind. We are super competitive and it’s all about wanting to beat your rivals. We practiced super hard to get here.”

Bussell gave credit to his fellow teammates as well. He says the competition is a team effort and takes a lot of communication, just like athletic sports.

“We need to communicate precisely what the other team is doing and what we need to be doing. The physical aspect of it is good hand-eye coordination, for mouse and keyboard specifically. You also need a good reaction time,” Bussell said.

For Bussell’s competition in CS:GO specifically, there are 30 rounds. The first to win 16 of those 30 is declared the winner. Unfortunately, RIT came up short against Drexel University.

Bussell also complimented Butler’s campus and Esports Park.

“Butler is a fantastic venue. It’s probably the nicest collegiate venue I’ve seen, and I’ve been to a couple now,” Bussell said. “I love the fact that it’s here.”

The schools competing in the tournament at Butler included:

  • Northwood University
  • West Virginia University
  • Maryville University
  • St. Clair University
  • Boise State University
  • Davenport University
  • James Madison University
  • Stony Brook University
  • Oklahoma Christian University
  • Drexel University
  • Rochester Institute of Technology

For more information on Butler University Esports and events/memberships at the Esports Park, click here.

Copyright 2023 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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