By Lauren Gudknecht
The KU Esports team is able to continue competing both internationally and nationally during the pandemic. Members must follow the COVID-19 protocols set up for the university and for the room. Free hours during the day for the public to use any of the equipment in the facilities has been eliminated.
“We have a mask mandate in the room and practice social distancing by having only half of the monitors available. A maximum of six people in the facility at all times while the room is only open to those on the Esports team,” Cesar Gonzalez, a fifth year senior at KU and a member of the Esports team, stated.
Because the room can only hold one team at a time with social distancing, each team has one in-person practice per week, while any additional practices are held online.
When it comes to sanitizing the room, that is a team effort. Each team is required to clean the equipment before and after use.
“Every weekday morning the graduate assistant cleans every surface that gets used in the facility,” said Gonzalez.
The practices are similar to any other traditional sport, according to Esports Graduate Assistant Connor Ellis. There are drills, film review, scrimmages and more.
All of the teams compete against other colleges and universities around the US. Mentioned before, only six members are allowed in the room at a time, which is equivalent to one team. The Smash Team has two separate practices a week to accommodate the first and second teams.
“The great thing about the online nature of Esports is that it allows you to play and practice with teams from all around the world. Typically we play schools from the US, and on rare occasions we will play internationally,” stated Ellis.
COVID-19 has still affected Esports because the open game hours have been removed. These hours were important to those who do not own equipment to practice on their own time.
However, unlike other KU sports, the Esports team is still competing with other colleges and universities and will continue following the protocols in order to keep their teams safe.