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Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Esports to leave Point Park Athletics

Photo by Brynn Rees
Point Park Esport athletes competing in a regulation Valorant match live on stream last fall.

Point Park Esports plans to officially separate from the Point Park Athletics department next academic year. 


The school will be transitioning to NCAA Division II athletics starting in the fall, and the Esports team will not be joining that transition.


The NCAA does not recognize esports as an official sport, nor do they own the rights to run tournaments. 


The split means that scores, rosters and updates will no longer be shown on the Point Park Sports website, and the athletic department will no longer collaborate with esports.


Director of Esports Chris Gaul and the athletics department came to a mutual decision this spring to move forward as two separate organizations. 


“A lot of the rules that [the athletic department has] to pertain to are slightly different for us or we don’t have, and we would be making their life harder as well,” Gaul said.


At the moment, Gaul does not know which department the team will join within the university next year, if any. 


Gaul reflected on the team’s possibilities and potential as they leave the NAIA as well as Point Park Athletics. 


“I’m excited because there are some cool plans in the works that I would love to see sort of come to fruition in the way that they’ve been imagined,” Gaul said.


Despite the split, Point Park’s esports players and media team should continue to serve as student-athletes under scholarship. 


Sophomore clinical philosophy major Ryan Milazzo shared his opinions on the separation. Milazzo plays on the Valorant team. 


“I think it’s a good and bad thing [that] we left the athletic department,” Milazzo said. “For starters, we gain independence as our own sanction in the university, not having to deal with staff in the department of athletics for [updates] is a huge plus to the expansion.”


Milazzo posed potential issues involving publicity across campus as well.


“On the downside though, it could be a little bit more challenging to get more recognition within the university, since the university doesn’t consider it in the athletic department,” Milazzo said.


The Valorant team wrapped up their primary spring tournament, NACE Starleague, last week. They earned a win in their final match, sweeping two straight maps last Wednesday. 


The Pioneers went 2-4 overall in the tournament. The team had a worsened record compared to the 2022-23 season.


Point Park Esports faced several structural changes and roster changes this year, resulting in a slow start for the Valorant team.


Our Valorant team is relatively young,” Gaul said. “And there’s a lot of new players on the team this year. So it takes a little bit to sort of get them rolling.”


Milazzo also reflected on the state of the Valorant team this year.


“We had some heavy absences with the team and we took a few months through the fall and spring to get adjusted properly to it,” Milazzo said. “However it didn’t stop us giving what we can to the program and our individual games.”


Point Park esports may join other small tournaments before the end of the semester, but the bulk of their season concluded last week. 


“I’m looking forward to the expansion of the program, meaning more players and talent coming into the university,” Milazzo said.


Gaul stated that he potentially has new plans in the works for the team next year, which will be announced at a later date. 


Point Park Esports posts updates on X under @PPU_Esports. All of their games are streamed on Twitch under @PointPark_Esports.

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