Jon Biro has a competitive spirit. Since high school, he has played just about any sport available to him, but they’ve taken their toll. After recovering from a broken elbow sustained during a wrestling match and a shattered knee from baseball, his days playing physical sports are over.
At Augusta University, he found the League of Legends eSports league and now his competitive edge stays sharp.
The team is one of 17 to compete in the Peach Belt Conference this year, the third since the Peach Belt took the sport under its banner.
“This is the biggest year yet. It’s obviously growing,” Biro said.
In 2018, the Peach Belt became the first NCAA conference to partner with Riot Games, the game’s developer, as part of the College League of Legends season.
On Jan. 23, the Peach Belt Conference announced it had accepted Florida Southern College and Henderson State College as associate members to allow their teams to play in the League of Legends regular season. They join the University of Montevallo, Coker University, Alma College and Hawaii Pacific University as associates, in addition to the Peach Belt’s full member colleges across Georgia and South Carolina. That brings the total number of competing teams in 2020 to 16, according to a news release on the conference’s website.
Biro said last year, only 10 teams competed in the conference.
“With more competition, and more interest in eSports, there’s a higher chance for more teams and more scholarships,” he said.
Tae Min Lee, the team’s captain, has been playing competitively since the team was formed three years ago, but unofficially, he’s been playing for seven years. He really like the game style and the competitiveness.
Each League of Legends game lasts about 30 minutes, and each game is completely different. Players choose champions to control, and each champion has a unique ability. Champions kill minions or monsters to obtain gold, which is used to make the champion stronger by leveling up and buying items. Ultimately, the goal is to destroy the enemy’s base.
Biro has been playing for eight years and said it’s a game he always comes back to.
“There’s always something different to learn, always something different to look out for. It’s a learning experience and everyone can see something new every single time they play or watch,” he said.
To prepare for the season, which begins Feb. 1, the AU team will play the game together, research other teams and review game plays. This year the team plans to work on improving communication during crunch time.
“For this game, we need to communicate what we need to do and what needs to be done. That’s one of our weak points,” Lee said.
The Augusta University team will play from a computer lab on campus on game day. The Peach Belt Conference Championship will be held at Lander University on March 27-28.