Varsity Esports Added to John Brown University Athletics Program

SILOAM SPRINGS, Arkansas (Nov. 9, 2022) – John Brown University announced today the addition of varsity esports to the Golden Eagles Athletics program, making it the 12th intercollegiate sport.

JBU will join 700 other institutions with teams playing in the National Association of Collegiate Esports and the National Esports Collegiate Conference. The varsity team is a natural extension of the athletics program after the continued popularity of the Esports Club, which began formally in the spring of 2021 and has more than 30 active members.

“Esports is exploding in popularity. More than 150 high schools in our state have sanctioned teams,” said Robyn Daugherty, JBU athletics director. “Research shows that 80-85% of these students don’t participate in other extracurricular or athletic activities. Offering varsity esports allows us to support and engage these students in the wider JBU community.”

JBU Esports will include multiple teams competing in games such as Rocket League, Overwatch, League of Legends, Super Smash Brothers and Chess.

University scholarships are available, and recruiting is already underway. Start-up coordinator Kim Johnson, Ed.D., hopes to recruit a team of approximately 20 men and women for the 2023-24 academic year.

“I’m excited to take the esports program at JBU to the next level and create additional opportunities for student-athletes who want to represent the university while receiving an excellent education,” said Johnson. “We are thrilled about the new esports facility at Bynum Theater and look forward to its completion.”

As part of its capital campaign, JBU is raising approximately $450,000 to convert and equip Bynum Theater, located in the Walton Lifetime Health Complex, into a practice and competition space for the team. The venue will include up to 20 competition-level computers, capacity for over 100 spectators and a broadcast booth for “shoutcasters” who provide game commentary.

JBU will continue to have an Esports Club for students who enjoy competing but want to avoid making the time commitment for a varsity sport. Intramural tournaments are also offered during the school year and are open to all students.

For more information, visit

Download the esports media kit (fact sheet, bios, game summaries)

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top-ranked university (The Wall Street Journal) and top-ranked regional university (U.S. News), JBU enrolls more than 2,200 students from 37 states and 48 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 undergraduate majors and 18 graduate programs.


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