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Augustana College students turn love of video games into scholarship opportunities

ROCK ISLAND-- They're play makers in the game, but the game is played behind a screen.

"It brings five people together that need to work cooperatively and communicate effectively to play better than the other team," says Augustana sophomore Michael Salamone.

It's competitive like more traditional sports. It's playing video games; it's called eSports.

"Physical activity, other than the whole keyboard and mouse pressing, that's the difference," says Salamone.

But it's more than competition.

Here at Augustana College, playing video games could now lead to thousands of dollars in scholarship money.

Salamone is president of Augustana eSports.

"We are just getting into this. We are very, very new," says Salamone.

Students can join, and if they're good enough, they'll go to tournaments and compete against other colleges and universities nationwide.

Each tournament has a different prize amount.

"The first place team will get $8,000 in scholarships which will be used towards tuition or room and board," says Salamone.

More than 100 Augie students have shown interest in joining in less than a month.

"It has been way better and way more attended than I had ever dreamed of it being," says Salamone.

And the squad is looking strong this year.

"We just had a scrimmage against one college, and we learned a lot from it," says Salamone.

They are playing video games to pay for school, using the make-believe world to pay for college in the real one.