15 Best College Esports Teams & Programs | 2023 Ranking

Playing video games in college is no longer a frivolous dorm-room pastime. College Esports has grown in popularity in recent years.

Now, students can easily combine their studies and still engage in programs like Esports and end up emerging with great teams. 

Interestingly, the best Esports programs offer not only lucrative funding opportunities for student-athletes but it also housed them in schools with strong academic reputations and premier resources and equipment.

If you want to find out about the best college Esports team, then this article is a must-read for you. 

According to an article in the June 22, 2015 issue of ESPN The Magazine, 27 million people watched the 2014 League of Legends championship tournament, according to the NACE website. In 2014, DOTA 2 drew 20 million viewers. Without context, those are impressive figures.

They’re even more impressive when compared to other major sporting events that year: The Stanley Cup Finals of the National Hockey League had about 5 million people. The World Series drew 13.8 million viewers.

The NBA Finals drew 15.5 million viewers. Professional Esports is a big deal. The growing popularity of college varsity Esports is not only good for the future of professional Esports and gaming in general (and, make no mistake, it is growing: the NCAA is already thinking about their role in the sport).

College varsity Esports is another way for colleges to attract students, celebrate the diversity of interests on campus, and invest money to benefit a larger portion of their student body. A small investment can go a long way in Esports.

When you consider the amount of money spent on sports (including state taxpayer money for things like stadiums), it’s impressive that they are being outwatched by Esports, part of this could be because of the ease with which large tournaments, such as the League of Legends Worlds, is often viewed, as they are free to watch and hosted online.

All you need is an internet connection. This is far more convenient than, say, finding free MLB World Series coverage online (hint: barring free trials to service providers, a free option does not exist).

It’s already popular, and advertisers and sponsors are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into it. If colleges continue to embrace varsity programs (which show no signs of slowing), this will become a “thing” in no time.

You Should Check Out; Top 15 Best Coaches in College Basketball │ 2022 Ranking

What Are the Benefits of Esports Programs?

There are many reasons to consider a varsity Esports program if you enjoy gaming, including the social, professional, and academic opportunities they provide.

While gaming with your college friends is enjoyable, joining a varsity team exposes you to a whole new level of competition.

Here are just a few of the advantages to think about:

  • Expanded social circle: Being a member of a team allows you to get out of your dorm and interact with other players on campus and at regional tournaments.
  • Mental well-being: College can be stressful, so putting your coursework aside and exercising your brain differently can be beneficial to your mental health.
  • Academic advancement: If you’re studying video game design and development, a college esports program can help you round out your education.
  • Employment opportunities: Some colleges offer academic scholarships to the best esports players, and you’ll have the chance to compete for prizes at major tournaments, which could help your career prospects.

Read also; The 50 Best College Football Coaches of All Time | 2022 Ranking 

Who Should Participate in College Varsity Esports?

Varsity Esports are not for beginners, so to make a team or get considered for a scholarship, you must have some experience with competitive gaming, such as competing in high school tournaments.

You should also consider how much time you’ll have to devote to Esports and whether you’ll be able to keep up with your coursework. If Esports is just a hobby for you, look into an intramural Esports league instead.

Participating in a varsity program can be a fun and rewarding part of the college experience for those committed to Esports.

You Should Check Also; Top 15 Best College Tennis Teams Ever │ 2022 Ranking

15 Best College Esports Teams And Programs

Here are the best college sports teams in 2022;

#1. Maryville University Team – St. Louis, MO

Maryville is now synonymous with collegiate Esports excellence, as a perennial contender in nearly every Esport in which they compete. They have three League of Legends titles and finished second in the Spring 2021 season. 

They won the 2021 Overwatch Collegiate National Championship and placed second in the Cheez-It Grooves Collegiate Invitational, both for Overwatch.

Their varsity program comprises Overwatch and CLOL, but they also have clubs dedicated to other games such as CS:GO, Hearthstone, Rocket League, and Rainbow 6 Siege. 

Academic scholarships of $2000 are available for Esports participants through the Esports program. The program is also highly regarded by the students.

For example, they are usually pleased with the school’s facilities, which include a dedicated training space for varsity, a lag-free environment, and cutting-edge technology for optimal gaming experiences. 

Members of the team also praise the staff’s professionalism and strong social media presence. Maryville University has one of the best college Esports in the United States. 

Visit School 

#2. Miami University Team – Oxford, OH

Miami University was one of the first top-tier universities in the United States to establish a varsity Esports program. Basically, Miami University has one of the best college Esports teams. 

The school’s varsity Overwatch team won the National Association of Collegiate Esports Overwatch season in 2017. The school won statewide Esports competitions in Overwatch and League of Legends two years later.

The University of Missouri’s Esports program features three varsity teams for League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Overwatch. The university invested in an Esports arena on the first floor of the campus’s King Library to support its Esports program.

Students can also volunteer to be counselors at an annual summer Esports camp. MU also has academic programs in Esports, including a nationally recognized gaming minor.

Visit School  

Read also; Should College Athletes Be Paid? If Yes, Why?

#3. Boise State University Team

Boise State University has one of the best college Esports teams. The varsity Esports teams compete in League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League.

Teams range in size from ten to sixteen players, and scholarships are available to both new and returning students.

At tryouts, players are usually evaluated twice for their teamwork, communication, and attitude. BSU organizes live events and has a Twitch channel for broadcasting.

Visit School  

#4. University of California – Berkeley, CA

The University of California has not only one of the best college Esports teams, but is also the first public university to create an official Esports program.

Its Esports program extends its successful computer game science major and an opportunity to serve the flourishing gaming community.

The Esports program at UC Irvine, which launched in the fall of 2016, is currently accepting scholarship applications.

Visit School  

Read also15 Best College Basketball Rivalries | 2023 Ranking

#5. The University of Utah Team – Salt Lake City, UT

The University of Utah currently has four varsity Esports teams: Hearthstone, League of Legends, Rocket League, and Overwatch.

They have a Twitch channel and a Discord group where fans can watch live games and interact with the players. Varsity players must be full-time students with a GPA of at least 2.0. (2.5 if on scholarship).

The University of Utah also has an Entertainment Arts and Engineering Program that offers a bachelor’s degree and a minor in game development. The University of Utah has one of the best college Esports teams. 

Visit School  

#6. Illinois Wesleyan University Team — Bloomington, IL

Illinois Wesleyan University is a small liberal arts college founded in 1850. It has over 20 varsity Esports teams and began offering Esports in the fall of 2018. It’s currently one of the best college Esports teams. 

The university has teams in League of Legends, Rocket League, Overwatch, Fortnite, and Super Smash Bros. It also recruits top gamers and offers scholarships to the most talented Esports players.

A dedicated Esports facility at Illinois Wesleyan provides student-athletes with access to cutting-edge equipment, including more than 50 computers and a broadcast studio. The facility also serves as a gathering place for gamers.

Visit School  

Read also: 15 Best College Basketball Arena in the USA | 2022 Rankings

#7. Georgia State University Team – Atlanta, GA

Georgia State University is a member of both the National Association of Collegiate Esports and the Georgia Esports League (GEL), allowing students to compete in both national and regional tournaments.

League of Legends, Smite, and Brawlhalla are among the games available, and players who maintain a high GPA are eligible for scholarships.

The program is a component of the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII), which also offers courses in Game Design, Media Entrepreneurship, and Computer Science. Georgia State University has one of the best colleges’ Esports teams. 

Visit School  

#8. Akron University Team – Akron, OH

It has made significant strides in the competitive field. They won the 2021 CRL Spring Championship, and the 2021 LevelNext Rocket League Showcase, finished second in Collegiate Hearthstone, and won the 2021 Rainbow 6 Siege Collegiate Grand Finals.

Currently, the college has 7 Esports programs for games like League of Legends, Rocket League, Hearthstone, CS:GO, Overwatch, Fortnite, and R6.

In terms of scholarships, participants will receive $1000, which is half of the previous entry fee. The college provides access to exclusive training facilities equipped with cutting-edge gaming PCs.

Akron has a varsity arena measuring 1222 square feet, physical fitness training, early registration for classes, group study areas, tutoring, and dedicated staff dedicated to scouting on both a local and national level.

Developing one of America’s most comprehensive programs from top to bottom. Akron University has one of the college’s Esports teams. 

Visit School  

Read also Top 15 Best College Basketball Teams Ever | 2022 Ranking

#9. Robert Morris University 

This Chicago-based university pioneered the concept of varsity Esports programs, awarding the first Esports scholarships to potential League of Legends team members in 2014.

The squad competes in games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, CS: GO, and DOTA 2. Furthermore, these teams have dedicated coaches and numerous sponsorships, which provide the players with some of the best facilities in the country.

Among the sponsors are iBuyPower, ASUS, Cooler Master, and DXRacer, all of which manufacture high-quality gaming PCs, keyboards, mice, and gaming chairs.

In their arena, RMU gamers and students have access to approximately 20 gaming computers. Robert Morris University has one of the best college Esports teams. 

Visit School  

#10. The University of Texas — Dallas, TX

UT Dallas, a relative newcomer, is quickly emerging as a top competitor in college Esports. The well-known Texas university launched its Esports program in 2018 and is currently one of the best college Esports teams in the country. 

The school’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate team won its second national championship in 2021. The UT Dallas Overwatch team is one of the top eight best college Esports teams in the U.S.

Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is among the varsity Esports teams at UT Dallas.

All varsity players are student-athletes and are eligible for athletic benefits, such as a scholarship, a jersey and uniform, and priority class registration. 

Visit School  

Check this article out:—Top 21 Best College Football Running Backs of All Time | 2022 Ranking

#11. Roosevelt University

In the year 2020, Roosevelt University in Chicago and Robert Morris University-Illinois merged into one institution.

This school, which should not get confused with RMU in Pittsburgh, also has one of the best college Esports programs that has been around since 2014 and was one of the first of its kind.

The school has also been a pioneer in the field. They usually feature games like Call of Duty and Overwatch in the program. It’s directed by Michael Wisnios and run by an assistant.

Visit School  

#12. Northwood University Team

In terms of the competitive side of Esports, Northwood made several significant leaps and bounds in the year 2020. They were the runners-up in the Spring 2021 Collegiate Overwatch tournament, won the Overwatch 2021 Cheez-It Grooves Invitational, and won the NACE National Championships in both OW and CRL. 

These are just some highlights from their season, which included winning the Fall 2020 College Rocket League Championships.

This college also serves as a venue for an impressive eleven different Esports competitions, some of which include Rocket League, Overwatch, League of Legends, Smite, Apex Legends, Fortnite, NHL, Hearthstone, Madden NFL, R6, and Call of Duty.

Regarding the distribution of student scholarships, they use a system based on percentages.
In terms of the student body and activities available on campus, they provide a degree program in Esports management for college students.

In addition to that, they have a specialized Esports complex and a robust presence across various social media platforms.

Cody Elsen, who is the director of the program and the coach, deserves special recognition because he possesses a wealth of experience and is a wonderful person, as stated by the members of the team. Northwood University has one of the best college Esports teams. 

Visit School  

Read this also: 25 Best College Dance Teams in USA | 2022 Ranking

#13. Harrisburg University

HU’s Esports team is the Harrisburg University Storm, and it’s one of the best college Esports teams. The name covey’s the ferocity and intensity of the Esports team.

Furthermore, their Overwatch team dominated the game’s 2019 and 2020 Collegiate Championships on the competitive scene.

In addition to Overwatch, the college offers Hearthstone and League of Legends. While not as competitive as the other submissions, their program instructional structure more than compensates.

Furthermore, twenty-two varsity Esports participants are eligible for full-tuition scholarships and housing stipends. Students can also take advantage of world-class coaching and practice facilities. 

Visit School  

#14. Winthrop University Esport Team 

Winthrop, home to successful League of Legends and Rocket League teams, has received many accolades for their competitive scene.

Among their accomplishments are winning the 2021 CLoL Championships, finishing second in the Gateway Legends Collegiate Invitational, and taking first place in the 2021 South Conference Playoffs. While scholarship information for college is unavailable, the program culture is vibrant.

Many Winthrop Esports participants emphasize the program’s emphasis on friendship and community above all else. While not the only things the program values, previous tournament placements show the college’s commitment to hard work and success.

Finally, Emily Vu, a former CLoL team manager, states that they are an adaptable team that will overcome anything and everything. With such a strong sense of belonging and inspiration. Winthrop University has one of the best college Esports team programs. 

Visit School  

Check this out also: What are the Best College Football Mascots in 2022?

#15. University of Ottawa

The Black and Gold teams play here. They provide programs in League of Legends, CS:GO, Valorant, R6, Overwatch, Rocket League, and, most notably, Call of Duty.

Some of their competitive highlights include the Ottawa Gold team going undefeated in the 2021 Call of Duty Playoffs, Gold winning the 2021 Activision Blizzard Collegiate Tournament, and overall ranked 1 & 2 (gold and black) in Call of Duty. They have also won the CW Collegiate Championships twice.

As of this writing, they are offering scholarships for their Esports programs, but there is usually limited information available. In terms of program culture, the program’s setup is becoming nationally recognized, not only for competitive gamers but also for professionals pursuing careers in the field.

This phrase was once used by Arabie Conner, the director of athletics when she announced Sergio Black as the new director of Esports. Ottawa also has its arena for recruiting students and training them for jobs and sports.

Visit School  

Why Esports Programs Matter

If you enjoy Esports, some schools provide scholarships and other incentives to attract the best players. A college’s specific Esports offerings may vary but may include games such as League of Legends, Madden, Overwatch, and Fortnite.

In addition to organizing inter-school competitions, varsity Esports programs can provide you with the resources and equipment you need to stay on top of your game.

When comparing college varsity Esports programs, it is critical to consider the level of commitment required. As with any other varsity sport, it’s expected to travel to regional tournaments to compete.

The best college Esports programs can serve as a stepping stone to a professional gaming career or complement an Esports-related academic program, such as a degree in video game development or art design. 

What Are College Esports Training Facilities Like? 

Following the high-profile debut metaverse concert featuring DJ Marshmello in February 2019, the video game Fortnite repurposed the differential of community in gaming when Travis Scott took the virtual stage in April 2020 to an audience of more than 12 million.

While previous crystal balls may have missed the onset of a pandemic, the gaming masses have returned as predicted.

Esports investments and revenues have grown exponentially over the last decade into slam dunk ventures that bring people together through the seemingly limitless potential of design, with a critical mass defined by community and purpose

Esports training facilities are less expensive than traditional sports training facilities. Furthermore, with the right sponsors, some programs don’t have to worry about providing gaming chairs, high-end computers, or other equipment.

And an esports training facility does not require a brand-new, million-dollar structure. Many schools repurpose old, underutilized classrooms. They gut it, spruce it up, and stuff it with gaming equipment. There you have it: your varsity Esports training facility.

A highly recommended article: The 50 Best College Football Players of All Time | 2022 Ranking

Frequently Asked Questions

How many universities in the United States have Esports teams?

The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) represents 175 colleges and universities that have officially recognized varsity Esports programs.

How do I become a member of an Esports team?

It is critical in amateur Esports to show up and look for opportunities on your own. Many players create team search posts on Discord or Steam, and teams do the same when they are looking for new members. Professional teams are more likely to notice you and make you an offer to join their team.

How do I get started in Esports?

Volunteering is an excellent way to begin your Esports career. Teams and leagues are constantly on the lookout for people to work for them for free. It’s a great opportunity to learn new things. Esports is a rapidly growing industry with the potential to provide excellent career opportunities. 

How do I enroll in an Esports college?

College coaches begin their search for recruits for their Esports teams by evaluating prospects who have submitted a recruiting form. Coaches may also watch major tournaments to find promising recruits sometimes.

Do colleges have an interest in eSports?

Gaming, like any other extracurricular activity, should not interfere with your academic or other important pursuits. High-quality extracurricular involvement is usually required if you want to apply to competitive colleges, but it cannot replace adequate time spent on schoolwork.

How do gamers get college scholarships?

Many colleges offer gaming scholarships if you are looking for one. You will almost certainly need to be an excellent player. Other criteria, such as grades and financial needs, are also considered. Since 2014, varsity gaming scholarships have been available.


So there you have it: our thoughts on the best college Esports teams and programs in the country right now.

We hope that by now many of these collegiate programs and teams would be more clear in your mind. Happy gaming



You May Also Like