A member of Loughborough Students’ Union has opposed a motion that aims to get competitive gaming recognised as a sport.
The motion is as follows: “To petition Sport England and the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) to recognise eSports as a legitimate sport and for them to provide proportionate funding and support to any university students that wish to compete in eSports.”
It has the potential to unlock additional funding for UK universities and help players get better on-campus facilities and support.
Last month, David Spoors, treasurer of the Northumbria University eSports Society, put forward the motion to get eSports recognised as a sport. A few days ago, Northumbria Students’ Union president Adam Crawley spoke for the argument at the NUS National Conference.
But Jenna Holmes, Loughborough Students’ Union VP of Societies (pictured, top, fourth from left), stood to oppose him and argue against eSports being recognised as a sport.
Still sad that a motion passed to petition @BUCSsport to include esports, it’s virtual, not physical, missing the entire definition of sport
— Jenna Holmes (@HolmesJenna) April 20, 2016
Jenna later tweeted that BUCS recognising eSports as a legitimate sport “is far from being a definite”, and said that there is “no immediate worries”, but that the motion was “still ridiculous”.
“I don’t have a problem with eSports, but when they already have a national competition [i.e. the NUEL], then they don’t need to be in BUCS,” she commented.
Following the conference, a few flocked to Jenna’s side and denounce eSports.
Steven Thomas, president of Edge Hill Students’ Union, piped up:
Others rallied to her side.
— Flynn (@NTSFlynn) April 20, 2016
A few spoke out against Jenna’s views.
The person who put forward the motion, David Spoors, responded to Jenna’s comments.
He said: “Why should those who engage in eSports sit quietly in the corner and do as they are told because individuals that do not know about eSports and have no experience of eSports feel that it is a ‘waste of time’?
“eSports is not the dictionary definition of sport, neither are many other activities that are recognised by the International Olympic Committee as sports – darts, chess, bridge, lifesaving and powerboating. This argument is not about definition, it is about recognition if these sports can achieve ‘sport’ status I fail to see any argument against eSports achieving the same status.”
Others were very supportive of Jenna’s views.
Dan Needham, head of news at Loughborough University Media, went so far as to write an opinion piece on the matter.
The comment piece was confused by some as a biased, one-sided news story – though we’re not sure how they could have come to that conclusion.
Dan wrote: “The dictionary definition of sport is ‘an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment’.
“Students from Northumbria want the NUS to petition BUCS to include eSports (think League of Legends, Counter Strike) despite there already being a National University League (The NUEL) already in place.
“I think approaching BUCS about something that doesn’t even constitute ‘sport’ is a waste of time. They must already think the political student movement is ridiculous and this will be the nail in the coffin.
“Personally I have faith that BUCS will simply laugh this motion out of our lives, keeping sport in the physical reality rather than the virtual, but it begs the question – why do we even bother with the NUS if they’re passing motions over issues they have no power to change?”
To be fair to Dan, he did allow Nick McKenna from the Loughborough Students’ Union Computer Society to write a response piece.
On the original article, and the anti-eSports comments, Neil said: “The Computer Society is already affected by such misunderstandings and opinions with regular comments from peers not taking our general events and activities seriously, with little or no backing or evidence to support them.
“Whilst eSports within BUCS is debatable amongst students, it cannot be denied the growing size and investment in the market and new opportunities it provides for students.”
The NUEL responded positively to Neil’s article:
The NUEL will be meeting with Jenna next week to discuss the motion.
With all due respect, while Nick’s article was professionally written and well-crafted, in our opinion it failed to really fight eSports’ corner and demonstrate the importance of Northumbria University’s motion.
Allow us to have a go.
Here’s our open letter to Loughborough Students’ Union over their comments against eSports.
Image source: Loughborough Students’ Union Facebook page
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.