Niagara University senior Bryce Molnar feeds his need for competition through video games.
"I've always been naturally competitive. I played a lot of sports in high school," Molnar said. "There's no timeouts. There's no breaks, and that's huge because you're really firing mentally on all cylinders all the time."
Molnar was a founding member of the Niagara Esports Club. In less than two years, it’s gone from eight gamers to more than 40. They've been battling other college clubs across the Northeast.
Niagara is among the many schools embracing Esports. The university on Thursday unveiled The Nest, a new student sports lounge, which includes a room just for the growing competitive gaming club.
There's a dozen high-powered computers, along with screens for systems like Xbox and Nintendo Switch.
"It's really meeting the needs and interests of our students who are coming here wanting to be part of this team competitive atmosphere," said Chris Sheffield, associate vice president for Student Affairs & Institutional Effectiveness.
The competition among schools to draw students is intense. Some institutions now even offer Division I athletic scholarships for Esports, a possibility for the Purple Eagles someday.
"How do you incentivize these programs to begin to attract the best players across the country? Those are conversations Niagara will be having," Sheffield said.
Another major step came Thursday as the club signed an agreement to become a member of the Electronic Gaming Federation’s national intercollegiate Esports league. The team will compete in four titles: League of Legends, Rocket League, Overwatch, and Super Smash Bros.
The club is now part of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's Esports division. Its next major competition is at the MAAC basketball championships in Atlantic City in March.