Are eSports Sport?

The DOTA 2 Championship this year was broadcasted on ESPN 2 and included a grand prize of over 5 million dollars.

If you are at all active online, play video games, or even just watch the news, you’ve likely heard of a new development in the world of gaming: eSports.  Over the past decade, interest in games has increased greatly, and companies have formed to try and cash in on the great talent of top players.  Major League Gaming, probably the most prominent of these companies, was founded all the way back in 2002 and has grown exponentially since then, as shown in the huge fan following for games like League of Legends (the 2014 World Championship was hosted in Seoul, South Korea’s World Cup stadium).  But are eSports truly sport?  Can we put video games in the same list as football, baseball, or soccer?

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Burke: Alive and Well in College Admissions

In our world, a college education is becoming more and more required.  The media has pointed to the great value in a bachelor’s degree; college graduates, though they do struggle themselves, are employed at a significantly higher rate than those who did not attend college. According to the New York Times, the pay disparity between four-year college graduates and others is on a rise and college educations are more valuable than ever before.  New Republic has chimed in, saying that skeptics arguing against college degrees are always incorrect.  It is also evident that more and more students have noticed the worth in collegiate education: the US Department of Education recorded a 32% expansion in college enrollment between 2001 and 2011.

College admissions are highly competitive, despite the growing need for a bachelor’s degree.

However, although the desire for four year college degrees is increasing, university admissions processes are still, on the whole, quite rigorous.  Students must take standardized tests, write multiple essays, and, in some cases, even interview, and even if their scores lie well above the college’s averages, there is no guarantee in acceptance.  Obviously, this can be explained by top universities’ desire to keep their prestigious status.  As more students apply to their programs, they must become more selective and critical of applicants.  This is reflected in the decreasing acceptance rates of American universities, as noted by Lindsey Cook from US News.  The question is: what does this say about our society as a whole?

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Robber Barons, the State of Nature, and the Social Contract

When brainstorming historical examples of the state of nature and the social contracts one instance from my United States History course continuously came to mind: the age of industrialism following the Civil War.  Businesses soared, executives reaped millions in profits, and monopolies reared their ugly heads.  As businessmen attempted to claw their way to the top, they squashed others, effectively eliminating competition and hurting the general public.

In this political cartoon, robber barons steal the common man’s money, like the lords of medieval times.

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College: Today’s State of Nature

In the past week and a half, Intro to Political Theory have sparked some interesting debates over exactly how people would act in a state of nature.  This idea got me thinking: what are humans like if allowed complete freedom? This idea of “complete freedom” is embodied by the state of nature, but it is difficult to imagine.  After all, I certainly have not experienced this state in my 18 years.  However, one example did come to mind: college.

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A Machiavellian Defense of Cheating in Video Games

Video games provide an escape into another world for countless people.

If you have ever played a video game, you have likely encountered cheating on some level.  Whether earning infinite money in Grand Theft Auto V, glitching through walls in Legend of Zelda, or simply entering cheat codes in Guitar Hero, cheating can be kind of annoying, too.  But could there be a silver lining?  Is it possible that cheaters actually enhance our experience in this magic game world?

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Should Student Athletes Be Paid?

For better or worse, sport is now a prominent part of the college life.  Budgets, funding, and social life all center around sport, and the athletes become the face and image of their respective universities.  Athletes, despite all the branding, do not receive a salary like professional athletes.  Since sport becomes a massive university undertaking, this raises a few questions about what exactly these campus legends should receive.  Should student athletes be paid for their efforts for the university, or is our current arrangement sufficient?

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