Mines News

Release Date Friday, November 3, 2017

Esports Gamers and Alumni Showcase Positive Gaming Community at SD Mines

Extra Life is a world-wide 24-hour fundraising and gaming marathon to support Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. It’s one of the events at SD Mines that celebrates esports and gaming.


RAPID CITY, SD (Nov. 3, 2017) – In years past, playing video games was often considered a waste of time with few redeeming qualities. “Gamers” have been negatively stereotyped as closeted individuals who are glued to screens for hours on end and who contribute little to their surrounding community. 

But, two student groups at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology are out to change this notion. They make a compelling case. Gaming in the 21st century is not just a pastime, it’s a multibillion dollar global sport–with a huge following of fans, players, and a gaming community that wants to give back and have a positive impact on society.  

Esports has millions of followers. The League of Legends is one of the most popular games. The world final match draws more viewers than the championship games in the NBA, NHL, or MLB. Like their counterparts in traditional sports, the top professional players are earning millions of dollars annually in endorsements and prize winnings.

Esports includes both professional and collegiate divisions. SD Mines collegiate teams frequently play other universities from around the nation in online matches.  E-athletes often compete in teams, and for individual players the sport fosters values of cooperation, teamwork and sportsmanship that are essential for success in any competitive event.  

“Our esports athletes are developing themselves on personal and professional levels. On a day to day basis they develop inner strengths to deal with losing and communications skills to aid in defeating opposing teams.” says Wyatt Engel, president of the SDSMT eSports Association and a senior computer science major.

Esports can also have the same positive impact and value for a university as traditional athletic events and teams. The activity can draw interest in a university, build a name for the school, and attract an alumni base to fund future scholarship money for e-athletes.

Two Upcoming Events  

Gamers for Service, a student lead group at SD Mines, is hosting a 25-hour "Extra Life" gaming marathon starting at noon Nov. 4 and running through 1 p.m. on Nov. 5.  The event raises money for The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. This is one of the ways gamers at Mines are building community outreach and giving back. “Gaming is a powerful industry; games can teach us amazing things, and they can touch our lives in ways no other medium could ever dream of. Whether you are talking about video games, board games, card games, or any other kind of game, they impact our lives in huge ways. Here, we are showing just one of the immeasurable number of ways that games can have a positive impact on society when we use them correctly,.” says Zacharie Barker, president of Gamers for Service, a chemistry and applied biological sciences major in his third year at Mines.

On November 11th Mines hosts the first annual esports alumni match where current students on the top Mines League of Legends team will take on a team of Mines alumni.  “The students have their work cut out for them. Unlike many other sports, alumni continue to play and advance their skills after graduating,” says Engel.  The media are invited to cover the match.  Archived video of past Mines matches can be found here.


About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $68,685. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Contact: Charles Michael Ray , 504-394-6082, charles.ray@sdsmt.edu