Private Ohio school becomes first all-girls school with varsity esports

An Ohio private school has reportedly become the nation’s first all-girls school to launch a varsity esports program.

Department of Education liaison J Collins will coach the 10-person gaming team at Hathaway Brown, located near Cleveland, to compete against nearby schools and libraries, The Associated Press reports.

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Collins also helped organize a league of 10 schools and libraries that will face off on three games — a sports game, a digital card game and an online battle arena game.

Collins first brought up the topic of esports within the Obama administration, noting that the program could attract more girls and minority gamers and help them take advantage of the growing opportunities at a collegiate level, the AP reports.

“There was an imperative for us to be involved with it from an early outset, so that we could ensure there was equity across implementations,” Collins told the outlet.

While more than 100 colleges have varsity esports programs, these university sports teams were struggling to find female gamers — despite the fact that 45 percent of U.S. gamers are female, according to the Entertainment Software Association.

“It got us thinking, maybe the problem isn’t that there aren’t girl gamers and gender minority gamers,” Collins told the AP. “Maybe the problem is that they’re in different places than the esports teams are looking.”

The move comes as more schools are adopting esports and increasingly folding gaming and virtual learning into the educational experience. But esports and STEM subjects still struggle to attract and retain females and minorities, oftentimes due to a “lack of role models, toxic culture and generally feeling like they don’t fit in that world,” Collins told the AP.