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MOUNT VERNON – Mount Vernon Nazarene Athletics has announce that the university will be one of the nine founding members of the Great Lakes Esports Conference, beginning in 2019-20.

"This is a great opportunity for our esports program,” said MVNU Athletics Director Chip Wilson. “We are thankful for the acceptance into this new league, and this will allow our program to build and have direction. I am thankful for the leadership of Justin [Nowicki] and Tony [Stemen], and I look forward to the development of this new program at MVNU."

The GLEC is a new esports-based conference that combines eight schools in Ohio and one in Indiana. MVNU will join with Defiance College (Ohio), Lourdes University (Ohio), Marietta College (Ohio), University of Mount Union (Ohio), Muskingum University (Ohio), Ohio Northern University, Tiffin University (Ohio), and Trine University (Ind.).

Seven of the nine schools joining the GLEC are members of the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE), including MVNU. The Cougars are also joined by fellow NAIA member Lourdes. Tiffin University is spearheading the founding of the league.

The 2019-20 season will see the schools participate in a nine-week fall schedule from September 21 to November 16. There will also be a spring season, with dates to be announced at a later time. The conference will facilitate a conference championship in the various video games that each school participates in. The 2019-20 championships will be held in the spring at Tiffin University’s Esports Facility.

“MVNU Esports is very excited to be launching our first year of competition as an inaugural member of the GLEC,” said MVNU head esports coach Justin Nowicki. “We’re confident that being part of a regional conference will help make the often impersonal world more personal for our players. We look forward to competing and for our students to have the opportunity to form relationships and rivalries with the other member teams.”

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“We are so excited to partner with institutions from our region to start the conference,” said Tiffin University Athletic Director Lonny Allen in a statement.

Mount Vernon Nazarene esports begins its inaugural season as a varsity sport in 2019, competing in the new MVNU Esports Facility in Ariel Arena. Eighteen student-athletes, including 10 freshmen and transfer students, will compete in GLEC eligible games Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, as well as Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The GLEC and MVNU esports are not affiliated in any way with the individual games or their respective publishers.

For continued coverage of MVNU esports, go to www.mvnucougars.com.