The Electronic Gaming Federation (EGF), the national governing body for formalized collegiate D-I esports and high school level leagues, today announced a new, first-ever expansive partnership with Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) to create EGFH Unified. Unified Sports® joins people with and without disabilities (known as Unified partners) on the same team promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. The first EGFH Unified season will be a 5-week competition featuring up to 50 high schools throughout the state bringing all esports student-athletes into an interscholastic schedule of competition beginning with Rocket League this Spring and continuing with rolling competitions throughout the 2021-22 school year.
“Creating impactful experiences for students has always been the core of why EGF was founded and it’s an honor to be able to work with the Special Olympics New Jersey to celebrate these athletes through esports, ” said Tyler Schrodt, EGF Founder. “Part of the magic of esports is its level of accessibility and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with SONJ to learn from their long history of impact through traditional sports to help develop these experiences for their community and recognize those athletes for their passion and their achievements. ”
“Special Olympics New Jersey is proud to partner and work with EGF on this very important program,” said Heather Andersen, President and CEO of Special Olympics New Jersey. “Esports competitions create shared experiences for our athletes and their partners in a unique way to empower their lives and social experiences. Being the first Special Olympics organization to run a Unified esports program is even more meaningful for us, and we look forward to sharing our experiences with others nationwide as this expands.”
Each school will have at least one Unified team expected to participate in five weeks of regular competition, with a one week pre-season and four-week regular season. Schools will compete against teams from other schools in weekly online matches, beginning with Rocket League this Spring, with plans to extend the program to more schools and games in the future. The competition will culminate with a full championship on June 4th and 5th.