Details about the League of Legends College Championship have been quite scarce thus far, despite some controversial decisions by Riot Games.
Now, however, fans of the collegiate leagues will finally know when to tune in and what the format of the championship will look like.
For 2017, a total of ten teams will be participating on the tournament. The teams will come from five regions: The North, South, West, East, and the Big Ten.
More specifically, the top two teams of each of these five collegiate leagues will be invited to participate in the tournament.
The five winners from each of the leagues will advance automatically into the College Championship and will be randomly drown into the top five seeds of the bracket. The other five teams will compete in a separate Wildcard Tournament and a final three teams will be able to advance to the actual championship.
The Wildcard Tournament will be the first stop.
The Group phase will take place between April 1-2 whereas the Bracket phase will be hosted between April 8-9. The first round will be a round-robin format which will immediately cut down the pool of teams to a total of four.
Round 2 will determine the two winners who will advance to the championship.
Finally, Round 3 will determine which of the other two teams will be able to participate in the championship and which one will be sent packing.
Teams from the Wildcard Tournament will be randomly seeded against three of the league winners with the exception that they will not be facing against teams that they have already competed with in the regular season.
The College Championship itself will take place in May 26-29. The three Wildcard teams will join the top five league winners in the NA LCS Studio in LA. The first round of the championship will be in the best-of-three format whereas the rest of the bracket will be in a best-of-five format.
Overall, the championship follows a very standard format which Riot has pretty much solidified over the years. This ensures fair matches with a lot of action without dragging the tournament out too much.
However, the controversy for the collegiate championship stems from elsewhere. The 2017 College Championship will not feature a prize pool. Players and university teams from around the country voiced their criticisms and concerns over this decision and none of them were happy about it.
Instead of a prize pool for the Championship, everything has been shifted towards regional tournaments. Scholarships of $8,000 will be awarded to each player of the top four teams in each regional bracket, $4,000 for the second teams, $2,000 for the third and fourth, and $1,000 for the fifth to eighth teams.
The consensus amongst the collegiate teams seems to be that Riot Games seems to undermine the efforts of the individuals and their investment in the Championship. Furthermore, most teams expected a similar prize pool to last year where $30,000 was awarded to each player of the winning University of British Columbia team and $15,000 to the runner-up, the Robert Morris University team.
For its part, Riot Games has maintained that this decision has been in the works for a very long time. Their only mistake was not communicating the facts sooner and in a clear, concise way. However, the goal has always been to promote scholarships and divert funds through other means.
While Riot’s plans may work in the long term, it is easy to see why the collegiate teams would be frustrated. Participating in an eSports tournament requires a significant investment of time and money. Of course, that is true with tournaments of any other nature too.