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MUNCIE, Ind. – Officials at Ball State University announced a new partnership with Daleville Community Schools to allow student Esports athletes from both institutions to practice and learn together.

Esports has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry and both Ball State and Daleville Jr-Sr High School started new Esports programs in 2020.  The new partnership will allow 15 Daleville students to meet weekly with members of the Ball State team for coaching and training.

“We’re exploring with Ball State some dual credit opportunities for courses of study,” said Daleville Community Schools Superintendent Greg Roach.  “They’re developing majors here at Ball State and universities across the country.”

The Ball State Esports program includes more than 50 competitive gamers who go up against other teams in the Mid-American Conference and the Esports Collegiate Conference.  It also includes more than 700 students who participate in club activities.  The program features a more than 3,600 square foot, state-of-the-art Esports center that was first opened in April 2021.

“We have a nice space, but nothing like the one they have here,” Roach said.  “We may have a hard time getting them out of here when it’s time to go.”

In addition to gaming, the Esports program can lead to a number of different career paths for students.  Competitions are broadcast live over the internet and the program includes the various skills it takes to make those broadcasts possible.

“It’s graphic design, it’s sports management, it’s production, it’s film editing, social media management,” said Ball States Director of Esports, Dan Marino.

The partnership will give participating Daleville students an early look at the fast-growing industry.

“This is a multi-billion dollar industry,” said Paaige Turner, Dean of Ball State’s College of Communication, Information and Media.  “And it’s not just in media production or a varsity sports player, it touches every area.”

“We know that this industry is going to expand and every student at our university needs to be able to compete and succeed in that,” Turner continued.

Ball State’s Esports program already partners with several youth organizations in the Muncie area.  The initial partnership with Daleville Schools will last for one year.  Organizers expect the partnership to extend beyond that, and expand to other schools in the years to come.