It is estimated that esports will outpace traditional sports by the year 2022. Scholarships, academic majors, studios, arenas, competitions, and broadcast opportunities are appearing on an increasing number of college campuses. Why should we care? Who should organize? How do esports fit within the academic mission of the university? What research opportunities exist? What are the parallels and differences between esport and traditional sport? Find out the answers to these questions and more as host Tony Doody talks with Brandon Smith (The Ohio State), Deborah Grzybowski (The Ohio State), Taylor Schrodt (Electronic Gaming Federation), and AJ Dimick (University of Utah) to explain and explore the fast changing world of esports in higher education.

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Episode Host

Tony Doody

Tony Doody

Tony Doody has over 25 years of practical experience and oversight in senior leadership positions within the Higher Education industry in the areas of Facilities Management, New Student Orientation, Recreation, Parent and Family Programs, Leadership and Training, Marketing and Communications, Adult Learning, and Major Events and Programs. He currently serves as the Director of Student Centers at the University of Delaware. Over the last six years, Tony has presented at over thirty universities and national conferences on topics of innovation, digital leadership, technology, and unconventional leadership. He received the Diamond Honoree Award from the ACPA Foundation, the highest honor of the American College Personnel Association, recognizing transformative contributions to the field (2017) and earned NASPA's 2017 Technology Emerging Practice Award. In addition, Tony has worked over 20 years as a consultant in the areas of executive coaching, leadership development, presentation skills, risk-taking, innovation, social media, conflict resolution, and team cohesiveness. Past clients include J&J, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Vistakon, Navigant, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, United Way, Merrill Lynch, Tumi International, and Aventis Pharmaceuticals.


Brandon Smith

Brandon serves as Esports Director and Enterprise Project Lead in the Office of Student Life. He leads Ohio State’s competitive esports program and directs the first esports and electronic gaming facility for students on Ohio State’s campus. Games like Myst and Marathon energized Brandon and his students while he was a resident advisor. Halo, Prince of Persia, Ghost Recon and Tomb Raider got him through his early professional career in technology and business leadership and he is excited to support the next generation of team and strategy-based games on consoles, personal computers and in virtual reality.

Brandon is a Columbus, Ohio native and holds BS Ed and Master of Arts in Technology Education degrees from Ohio State. As a graduate student, he taught classes in communication technology and trained Columbus City School teachers to adopt technology in the high-school classroom. From the late ’90’s, Brandon has developed online marketing strategies and built ecommerce sites for Ohio State departments as well as the banking industry. He has also managed business transformation efforts for the State of Ohio as he continues to do for the Office of Student Life at Ohio State.


Tyler Schrodt

Tyler Schrodt is the founder and CEO, of the Electronic Gaming Federation. Tyler started in esports in 2001 as a Counterstrike 1.6 player and tournament organizer and spent 6 years working in higher education before founding EGF in 2015. Today, EGF oversees a national league for some of the largest colleges in the United States and the first-state endorsed national high school esports league in the country.


Deborah Grzybowski

Dr. Deborah Grzybowski is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. Deb is Co-Director of the curriculum development of the Game Studies and Esports undergraduate major. This major is a collaboration of 5 colleges including Arts & Sciences, Education and Human Ecology, Engineering, Fisher College of Business, and Medicine. The comprehensive major will provide students to fill roles in industry ranging from game design and creation, production of gaming events including streaming and broadcasting, and coaching, rehabilitation, and training of esports athletes. Deb has been the Advisor of the Esports Initiative student organization since its creation in 2011.
Her engineering education research focuses on making engineering accessible to all students, including under-represented and under-resourced students, through the use of art-infused curriculum and 3-D models. Her role has given her many opportunities to develop curriculum both for K-12 and for higher education, including bio-engineering curriculum and associated models for the State School for the Blind. She holds degrees in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (B.S. & M.S.) and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering.


AJ Dimick

AJ Dimick serves as the Director of Operations for the University of Utah’s varsity esports program. AJ began his career in mainstream sports at a local sports radio station, 1280TheZone. There he produced the state’s highest rated afternoon drive-time sports radio talk show and also produced MLS soccer broadcasts for Real Salt Lake and covered Utah Utes and Jazz basketball. AJ pivoted into the gaming industry and received his Masters degree at the University of Utah’s #1 ranked Entertainment Arts & Engineering game development program. While there, he produced the 2014 Independent Game Festival Student Showcase winner Cyber Heist. AJ remained on staff at EAE as the Game Studio relations director, furthering EAE as a essential farm team for game studios throughout the country. When the University of Utah began researching esports as a potential varsity team, AJ combined his passions for games and sports to take lead on a scholarship esports program which serves as the first of its kind from schools in the Power-5 conferences.