‘This is not how it should be done’: Oklahoma eSports community divided over OSSAA partnership


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Members of the Oklahoma eSports community are divided over an OSSAA decision that some believe could prevent their children from participating in future competitions.

“The key players were not involved in a decision that [they] should have been involved, ”said Todd Borland, founder of the Oklahoma eSports League. “We are not happy with their management partner and the way they were chosen. “

The concern is with PlayVS, a California-based for-profit organization that will host the OSSAA State Championships. Many of those who oppose the decision are frustrated that they have been left out of the conversation.

“When you have two leagues in the state of Oklahoma operated by Oklahomans for Oklahomans, it makes sense to contact one or two and get their perspective on the matter before making such an important decision,” said Brian Morris, Founder of Oklahoma Scholastic eSports. “Why would you want to grow up [eSports] organically using an out-of-state based third party company that doesn’t even care about our kids.

Borland expressed a similar concern, pointing out that the current model of OSSAA via PlayVS includes a high fee to participate.

“We don’t like Oklahoma dollars leaving the state and not returning to our children,” he said. “We want Oklahoma dollars to stay for the benefit of Oklahoma children who do not leave the state.”

These fees, which will cost $ 64 per game with a minimum of eight participants (which works out to $ 512 for a single game), add up quickly for schools.

“Your big schools will probably be able to kick this off, but these Class B, Class A schools, they’re probably struggling with their budget as it is,” said Tyler Gray, Blair High School eSports coach. “The has not welcomed comments from people who already play esports in Oklahoma now.”

Chase Hohnke, the esports coach at Lomega High School, says the news is already affecting the kids on his roster.

“Each of them seemed to be on the verge of quitting,” Hohnke said. “I don’t know what I was gonna do so I’m gonna try to hang on [Oklahoma eSports League] as long as I can and I encourage as many schools to join our league to try and keep it going. “

Both coaches also expressed concern that many of the matches that Play VS will host championships for are not necessarily the ones that will help their students secure scholarships. This is because some of these games on the list are not games that colleges are recruiting for.

“Limiting children to these few games is never an option and is never a good thing to do,” Gray said.

OSSAA’s Amy Cassell says their involvement is not meant to replace the tournaments that many of these schools already participate in.

“It’s totally a voluntary opportunity for them,” she said. “So if we do what they would like to do, we would like them to be on board, but nobody has to. “

Cassell says Play VS already has a partnership with the National Federation of High School Associations.

“That’s why we started out by watching Play VS and we had a lot of meetings with them,” she said. “[We] talked to many other state associations that already use them.

She also says that these schools will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on a board and that it will take time to iron out the issues.

“We will be evaluating everything we have done throughout the season and we will take the suggestions,” said Cassell.

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