Esports student worried about program support

The Vista/Archives

A UCO esports team member is worried that the university is prioritizing its traditional athletic programs over less established activities.

Andre Thoongliangsheng, an international student from Malaysia and member of the junior varsity Valorant team, said he believes that the university focuses more on promoting the school’s football team over any of the other sports such as hockey. 

“The hockey team at UCO is so good — like, we are on a 17-win streak,” Thoongliangsheng said. “Like, that’s not easy to come by.”

Thoongliangsheng said he also worries about how the university handles promoting it’s budding esports program. First established in 2018, UCO esports has been a student-driven program since.

“On social media we are trying our best to push it out, saying that esports is one of the best ways to connect with people,” said Thoongliangsheng, “The only problem with that is that we are doing most of the work. The school is putting in the bare minimum.”

The university has dedicated time and money building the co-op esports arena and filling it with the hardware necessary to host esports tournaments and practices, but Thoongliangsheng is more worried about his teammates’ scholarships.

“With my teammates not getting scholarships, like honestly, I would gladly just move away from esports because it’s not fair,” he said. “I still want my teammates to get the same fairness of scholarships like me. At the end of the day, being on a team is like being in a family. If my team isn’t happy with the situation, I would gladly step down as a player.”

Thoongliangsheng, 22, not only represents UCO on the JV Valorant team, but is also an international student ambassador for esports.

Thoongliangsheng has heard of the Esports Media minor program, but he isn’t a part of it and doesn’t know how many people are involved. That doesn’t stop him from endorsing more people to get involved and finding a place in the esports industry.

Official word from UCO’s administration about continued funding of the esports program has not yet been released.

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