Responding to a growing interest in collegiate esports, top North American esports organizations are teaming up to advance esports in higher education.
The National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors (NAECAD) and the Unified Collegiate Esports Association (UCEA) recently partnered to provide more professional development for UCEA coaches and directors.
“UCEA’s partnership with NAECAD allows us to continue to raise and advance the development of the greater collegiate esports community, current and future leadership and valuable resources within North America,” Victoria Horsley, the president of UCEA, said in a statement. “It also functions as a think tank that will be driven by thought leadership, best practices and subject matter experts.”
New members can join the UCEA at no cost, making the association particularly attractive for cash-strapped colleges and universities. Schools only pay for tournaments they play in. So far, around 17 higher education institutions — including St. Clair College, the University of Missouri and Ottawa University in Kansas — have joined the association since May.
NAECAD also launched the first national certification program for coaches in June.
“I am beyond welcoming of this partnership with UCEA as it demonstrates a high level of commitment from both entities to enhance competitive esports at the collegiate level,” Jay Prescott, executive director of NAECAD, said in a statement. “This teamwork will provide collaborative support, quality professional development resources, and structure that will enhance program success and the student experience.”