SAN ANTONIO – When you think of college athletics, you might think of football, basketball and track and field, but do you ever think about video games?
It might seem surprising, but colleges across the nation are now starting to offer scholarships for their esports varsity athletes.
"If you find something you love and you get good at playing it, don’t stop. It’ll pay off eventually," Jahaziel Garcia said.
Garcia, a freshman at Schreiner University, is one of the first recruits for the school's esports program.
"We were living on the Air Force base in San Antonio, and my dad bought me a (Nintendo) 64, and it just started from there," Garcia said.
Garcia never imagined his passion for video games would earn him scholarship money.
"He told me I could sign for the team, and there was a $40,000 scholarship," Garcia said.
Just like every other varsity-caliber sports, esports players are responsible for practicing and staying in (a) tip-top competition shape.
"It brings a different environment for students who don’t normally have a home in varsity program," Cody Morgan said.
Morgan is a senior on the team and says a lot of the team members may not be all-star athletes, but they bring special skills of their own.
"These guys put just as much dedication and passion into what they're passionate about," Morgan said.
Like other sports, the hours and hours of practice behind the keyboard and controller could mean future opportunities.
"Because each one of them is their own personal brand, it teaches them business, how to present themselves on social media, their marketing, all that," Morgan said.
The team technically doesn’t have an official coach, but they do have a college coordinator who said there are more than 100 schools across the country that have varsity esports teams and that the gaming industry is ready for a boom.