Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri will be the
first ever all-women’s college in history to start a varsity
According to a report by
ESPN, the Stephens College Stars will start their first
batch of competition in the Fall of 2017, playing Overtwatch in
the Tespa series.
Stephens College president Dianne Lynch along with other
decision makers initiated discussions surrounding the idea
of an esports roster for the institution of higher learning.
Things appeared to fall into place for Lynch and the
college in terms of sponsoring the roster. And from the
discussions, there was only one choice of which esport to start
with–Overwatch. Overwatch is a game that received many
accolades for its character diversity and inclusiveness.
Blizzard came out publicly stating that one of their female
characters, Tracer, was gay.
In response to the question, “Gaming provides an opportunity
for men and women to compete together, on an even field. So why
are so few women reaching the top levels?” Lynch responded,
“Our mission is to ensure that women can succeed and can make
choices about anything they do in any environment and in any
profession. That’s our mission. So why would we not do it in
Lynch also said that choosing Overwatch as the first ever
esport for the college was absolutely purposeful. It aligned
with the college’s mission.
Collegiate esports is starting to roll through the collegiate
landscape like a wild fire with no end in site. The BIG 10 has
a televised League of Legends league and there are over 15
university and colleges that have esport scholarship programs.
“We always consider ourselves early adopters, or a kayak in the
water, as I would say, rather than an ocean liner,” Lynch said.
“We have the capacity and the appetite for doing something new
that allows us to say, ‘Let’s try this.’ Let’s see if we can
provide an environment where women have an opportunity to, in
some ways, break barriers.”