The University of Southern Mississippi Eagle eSports program has expanded its opportunities for competition and exposure by joining with other schools from across the country in the National eSports Collegiate Conference.
NECC members include the University of Alabama, Boise State University, Sacramento State University, Mount St. Mary’s University, the University of Montana, Valparaiso University, Randolph-Macon College, Colorado College and Illinois Wesleyan University, among others.
“We’re excited to be affiliated with the NECC. Between this and our other affiliations, our teams will be going up against everyone from established teams to rising stars,” said USM Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Denny Bubrig. “To join a conference like this not only impacts our recruiting, which is already coast to coast, but it brings an added plus for our current athletes to be able to recognize them with defined conference championships, all-conference honors and more.”
USM eSports was founded approximately one year ago and is currently composed of five teams, including Rainbow 6 Siege, Call of Duty, League of Legends, Rocket League and Overwatch. More than 50 students from both the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses are participating in the program.
Josh Morgan, a junior marine biology major from Brandon is coach and captain of the Eagle eSports League of Legends team. He transferred to USM from Florida Southern College, where he was also captain for the school’s eSports program from 2017-2019.
“To grow our brand, our teams and our program, we have to put ourselves out there,” Morgan said of the new conference affiliation. “NECC made sense for us, and I hope it can provide opportunities to some of our teams that were not previously available to them. By joining this conference, it gives us a wonderful chance to grow and learn.”
Morgan enjoys the networking that comes with eSports.
“I have not only made friends, but I’ve also connected with new colleagues and mentors, including Dr. Bubrig,” he said. “He was instrumental in starting this program and really making it tick forward. Meeting him was solely based on eSports affiliations, and I trust him wholeheartedly with this program and its future.”